Journal Article

Understanding the relationship between adverse childhood experiences, peer-violence perpetration, and gender norms among very young adolescents in Indonesia: A cross-sectional study

This study assesses the role of gender norms on the relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and peer-violence perpetration among very young adolescents in three urban poor cities of Indonesia.

A cross-sectional study was conducted in Bandar Lampung, Denpasar, and Semarang in Indonesia. A total of 2,974 participants (boys: 44.79%, girls: 55.21%) between 10 and 14 years were included in the analysis. Logistic regression, mediation, and moderation analyses were conducted stratified by sex.

Risk factors of peer-violence perpetration among boys and girls included three (boys: adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 2.51, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.32–4.75; girls: aOR 1.82, 95% CI .95–3.52) and four or more (boys: aOR 6.75, 95% CI 3.86–11.80; girls: aOR 5.37, 95% CI 3.07–9.37) history of ACE. Risk factors of peer-violence perpetration among boys included having inequitable sexual double standard (SDS) indices (aOR 1.46, 95% CI 1.09–1.95). SDS measures the perception boys are rewarded for romantic relationship engagement, whereas girls are stigmatized or disadvantaged for the experience. Other risk factors included lifetime tobacco use among boys and girls and lifetime alcohol use among boys. Protective factors included parental closeness among girls.

Based on the research in three Indonesian communities, this study demonstrates that boys are disproportionately exposed to adversities including history of ACE, inequitable SDS, lifetime alcohol use and tobacco use in comparison to girls. Programs targeting ACE and gender norms which engage boys, girls, and families are more likely to be successful in reducing peer-violence perpetration and promoting gender equitable norms.