|Abstract||Introduction: Internationally, eight out of ten children are exposed to violent
discipline by their caregivers. To reduce the prevalence of violent discipline against
children, we should understand the social and economic factors that affect the choice
of disciplinary methods. Despite the high prevalence of violent discipline in the Middle
East and North African (MENA) region, only a few studies explored disciplinary
methods in this region.
Aim: This study aims to determine the prevalence of positive and violent
disciplinary practices in five selected MENA countries and assess their association with
household head education and beliefs of physical punishment.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional study design based on available secondary
data from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey on its fourth round (MICS-4). A child
was selected randomly from the household, and the Parent-Child Conflict Scale
(CTSPC) tool was used to report disciplinary methods the child encountered during the
last month period preceding the survey. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression
were used to investigate the association between disciplinary practices with household
head education and respondent's beliefs of physical punishment. The analysis was
conducted using pooled data from all selected surveys and also for individual countries.
Result: The overall prevalence of positive discipline was only 15% (95% CI:
14.4-15.8), in the five countries, while the prevalence of violent discipline was 80%
(95% CI: 79.0 -80.5). The prevalence of positive discipline was highest in Qatar (40%;
95% CI: 35.0-44.4) and lowest in Tunisia (5%; 95% CI: 4.3-5.9) while the prevalence
of violent discipline was highest in Tunisia (93%; 95% CI: 92.1-94.1), and lowest in
Qatar (50%; 95% CI: 44.7-55.0). Overall, the household head education was not
significantly associated with either positive or violent discipline after adjusting for
covariates. However, respondents believe of disciplinary methods were significantly
associated with both positive and violent discipline (OR=5.88; 95% CI: 4.97-6.96) and
(OR=6.27; 95% CI: 5.40-7.28), respectively.
Conclusion: High rates of violent discipline in the MENA region might indicate
an increase in mental, behavioral, and social problems and disorders in our future
generation. Rapid action is needed to reduce the worsening of violent discipline, and it
is consequences. There is a need for educational programs for caregivers to teach them
alternative non-violent methods of discipline. Besides, these numbers should inform
policymakers about the importance of the existence and the implementations of laws,
policies, and regulations to protect children from all forms of violence to protect our
future youths and ensure their health and wellbeing.