A Cross-cultural Comparison of Interpersonal Violence in the Lives of College Students from Two Colleges from The Bahamas and the United States of America

William J. Fielding, Christina Risley-Curtiss, Travis W. Cronin


There is a dearth of studies that compare interpersonal violence cross nationally. This paper reports the findings of a cross-sectional study which compares and contrasts violence in the lives of 740 college students, as children and as adults, in The Bahamas and the United States of America. Overall, students in The Bahamas were subjected to more violence (more frequently spanked) than their American counterparts. Frequency of spanking when the student was a preteen and teenager were linked to anger outbursts in adulthood, and higher numbers of anger outbursts were linked with violent behaviours of students. Although Bahamian students were exposed to more violence than the American students, this did not result in Bahamian students being more violent than American students in interpersonal relationships. However, Bahamian
students were more likely than American students to anticipate using corporal punishment on their children and to condone violence in marital relationships.


Youth and violence; Violence in adolescence - Bahamas; Violence in adolescence - United States

Full Text:



Alexander, M. (2012). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York, NY: The New Press.

Ascione, F. R. (Ed.). (2008). The international handbook on animal abuse and cruelty: Theory, research, and application. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.

Blumstein, A. (2011). Bringing down the U.S. prison population. The Prison Journal, 91(3), 12S-26S. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0032885511415218

Brennen, S., Fielding, W. J., Carroll, M. C., McCants Miller, J. C., Adderley, L., & Thompson, M. A. (2010). A preliminary investigation of the prevalence of corporal punishment of children and selected co-occurring behaviours in households on New Providence, The Bahamas. The International Journal of Bahamian Studies, 16, 1-18. http://dx.doi.org/10.15362/ijbs.v16i0.121

Cartwright-Rolle, T. (2014, August 1). Miller concerned about constitutional amendment bill. The Nassau Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.thenassauguardian.com/news/49241-miller-concerned-aboutconstitutional-amendment-bill

Carroll, M., Fielding, W. J., Brennen, S. & Hutcheson, S. (2011, November). Rearing violence in Bahamian homes. Paper presented at the Violence Symposium, The College of the Bahamas, Nassau, Bahamas. Retrieved from http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00012380/00001

Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2013). Long-term consequences of child abuse and neglect. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau. Retrieved from https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/long_term_conseqences.pdf

Clarey, A., Hokoda, A., & Ulloa, E. C. (2010). Anger control and acceptance of violence as mediators in the relationship between exposure to interparental conflict and dating violence perpetration in Mexican adolescents. Journal of Family Violence. 25, 619–625. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10896-010-9315-7

College of The Bahamas. (2011, November). Violence symposium. Papers presented at the Violence Symposium, The College of The Bahamas, Nassau, Bahamas. Retrieved from http://www.cob.edu.bs/Research/ViolenceSymposium/

Craton, M., & Saunders, G. (1992-1998). Islanders in the stream: A history of the Bahamian people (Vols. 1-2). Athens: University of Georgia Press.

D’Avanzo, C. E. (Ed.). (2008). Pocket guide to cultural health assessment. (4th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

Daylight saving time change FAQ (2007). Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20110713120534/http://ftp.redhat.com/redhat/dst2007/README/DSTFAQ2007_final.pdf

Eminem. (2010, August 5). Love the way you lie [Video file]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/uelHwf8o7_U

Flake, D., & Forste, R. (2006). Fighting families: Family characteristics associated with domestic violence in five Latin American countries. Journal of Family Violence, 21(1), 19-29. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10896-005-9002-2

Fielding, W. J. (2008). Attitudes and actions of pet caregivers in New Providence, The Bahamas, in the context of their American counterparts. Anthrozoös, 21(4), 351-361. http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175303708X371573

Fielding, W. J., & Plumridge, S. (2010). The association between pet care and deviant household behaviours in an Afro- Caribbean, college student community in New Providence, The Bahamas. Anthrozoös, 23(1), 69-78. http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175303710X12627079939224

Flynn, C. (1999a). Animal abuse in childhood and later support for interpersonal violence in families. Society and Animals, 7, 161-172. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/156853099X00059

Flynn, C. P. (1999b). Exploring the link between corporal punishment and children’s cruelty to animals. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 971-981. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/354017

Gokhale, A. A. (1995). Collaborative learning enhances critical thinking. Journal of Technology Education, 7(1). Retrieved from http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JTE/v7n1/gokhale.jte-v7n1.html

Hahnlen, N. C., Rosado, M. S., Capozzi, K. A., & Hamon, R. R. (1997, November). Mothering in The Bahamas: A student ethnography. Paper presented at the 59th Annual National Council on Family Relations Conference, Arlington, Virginia. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED417004.pdf

Hanna, C. (2011). Reducing murders in The Bahamas, A strategic plan based on empirical research. Nassau, Bahamas: Royal Bahamas Police Force. Retrieved from http://www.bahamaslocal.com/files/Reducing_Murders_in_The_Bahamas.pdf

Henning, K., Jones, A., & Holdford, R. (2005). “I didn’t do it, but if I did I had a good reason”: Minimization, denial, and attributions of blame among male and female domestic violence offenders. Journal of Family Violence, 20(3), 131-139. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10896-005-3647-8

Holt, S., Buckley, H., & Whelan, S. (2008). The impact of exposure to domestic violence on children and young people: A review of the literature. Child Abuse & Neglect, 32, 797–810. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2008.02.004

Huemer, M. (2003). Is there a right to own a gun? Social Theory & Practice, 29(2), 297-324. http://dx.doi.org/10.5840/soctheorpract200329215

Humane Society of the United States. (2011). Animal cruelty and human violence. A documented connection. Retrieved from http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/abuse_neglect/qa/cruelty_violence_connection_faq.html

International Centre for Prison Studies. (2013). World prison brief. Retrieved from: http://www.prisonstudies.org/worldprison-brief

Kim, K. (2012). The role of culture in theories of the intergenerational transmission of violence. Child and Family Social Work, 17, 395–405. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2206.2011.00793.x

Lazenbatt, A. (2010). The impact of abuse and neglect on the health and mental health of children and young people. Retrieved from http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/research/briefings/impact_of_abuse_on_health_pdf_wdf73369.pdf

Le Franc, E., Samms-Vaughan, M., Hambleton, I., Fox, K., & Brown, D. (2008). Interpersonal violence in three Caribbean countries: Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Pan American Journal of Public Health, 24(6), 409-421. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-9892008001200005

Lenta, P. (2012). Corporal punishment of children. Social Theory & Practice, 38(4), 689-716. http://dx.doi.org/10.5840/soctheorpract201238437

Mass, C., Herrenkohl, T. I., & Sousa, C. (2008). Review of research on child maltreatment and violence in youth. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 9, 56-67. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1524838007311105

McEwen, F. (2010). Animal abuse, child abuse, domestic violence: Research review. Community Care Inform. Retrieved from http://www.ccinform.co.uk/research/animal-abuse-child-abuse-and-domesticviolence/

McPhedran, S. (2009). Animal abuse, family violence, and child wellbeing: A review. Journal of Family Violence, 24, 41-52. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10896-008-9206-3

Mejia, P. (2014, December 6). Ferguson, Eric Garner protests spread worldwide. Newsweek. Retrieved from http://www.newsweek.com/ferguson-ericgarner-protests-sprawl-worldwide-289867

Missick, R. (2014, March 10). Bahamians speak out against domestic abuse remarks. The Tribune. Retrieved from http://www.tribune242.com/news/2014/mar/10/bahamians-speak-out-againstdomestic-abuse-remarks

National Institute of Justice. (2013). Gun violence. Retrieved from http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/gunviolence/Pages/welcome.aspx

Nicolls, D., Russell-Smith, C., Dean-Patterson, S., Deveaux-Stuart, L. D., Gibson-Mobley, I., Williams, E. J, Pinder-Darling, A., & Fielding, W. J. (2014). Attitudes of high school students regarding intimate relationships and gender norms in New Providence, The Bahamas. The International Journal of Bahamian Studies, 20(1), 38-51. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.15362/ijbs.v20i1.225

Oas, P. T. (2010). Current status on corporal punishment with children: What the literature says. American Journal of Family Therapy, 38(5), 413-420. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01926187.2010.514214

O'Hear, M. M. (2013). Mass incarceration in three Midwestern states: Origins and trends. Valparaiso University Law Review, 47(3), 709-753.

Paquette, M. (2004). Violence education: Dissolving the denial. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 40(4), 131-132. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6163.2004.tb00009.x

Sedlak, A. J., Mettenburg, J., Basena, M., Petta, I., McPherson, K., Greene, A. & Li, S. (2010). Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS–4): Report to Congress. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

Smith, D. E., & Mosby, G. (2003). Jamaican child-rearing practices: The role of corporal punishment. Adolescence, 38, 369-381.

Trading Economics. (2015). Bahamas visitor arrivals 2004-2015. Retrieved from ttp://www.tradingeconomics.com/bahamas/tourist-arrivals

UNICEF. (2003). A league table of child maltreatment deaths in rich nations. Innocenti Report Card, 5. Retrieved from http://www.unicefirc.org/publications/pdf/repcard5e.pdf

UNICEF. (2014). Hidden in plain sight: A statistical analysis of violence against children. New York: Author. Retrieved from http://data.unicef.org/corecode/uploads/document6/uploaded_pdfs/corecode/VR-full-report_Final-3_2_15_189.pdf

United Nations Development Programme. (2015). Human development project data, 2014. Retrieved from http://hdr.undp.org/en/data

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, & World Bank. (2007). Crime, violence, and development: Trends, costs, and policy options in the Caribbean. Washington, DC: World Bank. Retrieved from http://go.worldbank.org/HDBCAXW850

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2013). Global study on homicide: Trends, contexts, data. Retrieved from http://www.unodc.org/documents/gsh/pdfs/2014_GLOBAL_HOMICIDE_BOOK_web.pdf

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2014, May 15). Crime and criminal justice statistics. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/unodc/data-andanalysis/statistics/crime.html

Violence Policy Center. (2014). Black homicide victimization in the United States: An analysis of 2011 homicide data. Retrieved from http://www.vpc.org/studies/blackhomicide14.pdf

Walker, B., Ballance, V., Pinder‐Darling, A., Morris, L., & Bain, E. (2011, November). Violence in The Bahamas and the Caribbean: A bibliography. Paper presented at the Violence Symposium, The College of The Bahamas, Nassau, Bahamas. Retrieved from http://www.cob.edu.bs/Research/ViolenceSymposium/ViolenceSymposium2011_ViolenceBibliography.pdf

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15362/ijbs.v21i1.230

Copyright (c) 2015 William j. Fielding, Christina Risley-Curtiss, Travis W. Cronin