An Application of the Theory of Planned Behavior in Predicting Child Abuse Reporting Intention of Malaysian Society


The incidence of child abuse is increasing at an alarming rate. However, it is widely believed that only a few cases are reported to the authorities. Under-reporting of child abuse is therefore a grave concern, especially in Malaysia. Why is it that, even though society in general agrees that child abuse is a heinous crime that must be stopped and prevented, only very few of them played their role by reporting suspected abuse? The answer is unclear due to scarce research conducted in this area. This study is therefore directed towards finding answers to this question. By applying the Theory of Planned Behavior, this paper examines the relationship between attitude, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control and child abuse reporting intention. A multi-stage stratified cluster sampling method was used by this cross-sectional study in selecting the respondents from the Southern ( Johor, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan) and Central (Selangor) regions of Malaysia. A total of 384 questionnaires was distributed to the individual citizens of Malaysia aged between 19 to 64 years old. The return rate was 90.4% and analysis was carried out on 347 completed questionnaires. The findings show that subjective norms and perceived behavioral control were found to have a significant relationship with the intention to report suspected child abuse. Subjective norm was found to be the most influential factor towards intention to report suspected child abuse. Interestingly, the study found that there was no significant relationship between attitude and intention to report suspected child abuse in Malaysian society. The findings of this study are useful to policy makers and child protection authorities.

Keywords: child protection policy, attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, Theory of Planned Behavior

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