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One in three Japanese mothers has experienced child-rearing difficulties and one in five is worried that she may be abusing her children, according to the results of a survey published Thursday.

Some 33.4 percent of mothers who responded to the survey reported having experienced problems in raising their children, while 27.4 percent expressed a lack of confidence regarding their child-rearing duties.

The survey, which was conducted by the Japanese Society of Child Health, also revealed that 18.1 percent of mothers are worried that they might be abusing their children.

Asked in a multiple-choice question about the kinds of abuse involved, 80.2 percent cited verbal abuse, 48.5 percent said spanking and 17.4 percent said overly strict discipline.

The society polled 6,800 mothers of children aged between 1 and 6. It has conducted surveys of this kind once every 10 years, although its latest poll was the first to deal with child abuse.

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