The relationship between national racism and child abuse among Palestinians in Israel: The moderating role of coping strategies

Heba Faiek Zedan*, Muhammad M. Haj-Yahia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Exposure to ethnic- and race-related stress (e.g., racism, racial discrimination, and micro-aggression) can impair parenting and parent-child relations.

OBJECTIVE: This study examines the exposure of Palestinian parents in Israel to two levels of racism, interpersonal racism (IPR) and perceived collective racism (PCR), and the relationship of each to perpetrating child abuse. Further, the study examines the moderating role of coping strategies on these relationships.

PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: The study was conducted among a systematic semi-random sample of 770 Palestinian parents in Israel (500 mothers and 270 fathers) aged 21-66 (M = 38.7, SD = 7.84).

METHODS: Participants filled out a self-administered questionnaire that included items from several instruments.

RESULTS: Regression analysis revealed that PCR and avoidance coping significantly predict psychological, R 2 = 0.072, p < 0.001, and physical, R 2 = 0.088, p < 0.001, child abuse. Interestingly, the moderating effects of coping strategies varied somewhat. High avoidance-coping (e.g., distraction, denial, withdrawal) worsened PCR's effect on child abuse, while low avoidance-coping mitigated it but augmented IPR's effect on child abuse. Further, frequently using problem-oriented coping (e.g., analyzing the situation) worsened IPR's effect on child abuse. Child abuse risk increased when parents experienced high PCR levels and frequently used avoidance coping. Likewise, it increased when they experienced high IPR levels and used either high problem-oriented coping or low avoidance-coping.

CONCLUSIONS: Understanding when coping strategies buffer the impact of racism on the parent-child relationship and when they exacerbate it can contribute to interventions with parents experiencing IPR and PCR.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number106004
Pages (from-to)106004
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Child abuse
  • Collective racism
  • Coping strategies
  • Coping styles
  • Interpersonal racism
  • Physical child abuse
  • Psychological child abuse


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