Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Corporal Punishment

Some studies:

Corporal Punishment of Children in Nine Countries as a Function of Child Gender and Parent Gender - 2010

Background. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a global perspective on corporal punishment by examining differences between mothers' and fathers' use of corporal punishment with daughters and sons in nine countries. Methods. Interviews were conducted with 1398 mothers, 1146 fathers, and 1417 children (age range = 7 to 10 years) in China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States. Results. Across the entire sample, 54% of girls and 58% of boys had experienced mild corporal punishment, and 13% of girls and 14% of boys had experienced severe corporal punishment by their parents or someone in their household in the last month. Seventeen percent of parents believed that the use of corporal punishment was necessary to rear the target child. Overall, boys were more frequently punished corporally than were girls, and mothers used corporal punishment more frequently than did fathers. There were significant differences across countries, with reports of corporal punishment use lowest in Sweden and highest in Kenya. Conclusion. This work establishes that the use of corporal punishment is widespread, and efforts to prevent corporal punishment from escalating into physical abuse should be commensurately widespread.

There was considerable variability in proportions of mothers, fathers, and children in China, Colombia, Italy, Kenya, Jordan, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States who reported the use of corporal punishment and believed that the use of corporal punishment is necessary to rear the target child. Overall, mothers reportedly used corporal punishment more frequently than fathers, and sons were reportedly more frequently corporally punished than daughters were. International efforts to eliminate child abuse and promote children’s right to protection will be both challenging and important because of the prevalence of corporal punishment.

Corporal Punishment by American Parents: National Data on Prevalence, Chronicity, Severity, and Duration, in Relation to Child and Family Characteristics - Murray A. Straus, and Julie H. Stewart’ - 1999

We present data on corporal punishment (CP) by a nationally representative sample of 991 American parents interviewed in 1995. Sii types of CP were examined: slaps on the hand or leg, spanking on the buttocks, pinching, shaking, hitting on the buttocks with a belt or paddle, and slapping in the face. The overall prevalence rate (the percentage of parents using any of these types of CP during the previous year) was 35% for infants and reached a peak of 94% at ages 3 and 4. Despite rapid decline after age 5, just over half of American parents hit children at age 12, a third at age 14, and 13% at age 17. Analysis of chronicity found that parents who hit teenage children did so an average of about six times during the year. Severity, as measured by hitting the child with a belt or paddle, was greatest for children age 5-12 (28% of such children). CP was more prevalent among African American and low socioeconomic status parents, in the South, for boys, and by mothers. The pervasiveness of CP reported in this art&, and the harmful side effects of CP shown by recent longitudinal research, indicates a need for psychology and sociology textbooks to reverse the current tendency to almost ignore CP and instead treat it as a major aspect of the socialization experience of American children: and for developmental psychologists to be cognizant of the likelihood that parents are using CP far more often than even advocates of CP recommend, and to inform parents about the risks involved.

Previous research indicates that boys experience more CP than girls at all ages (Day et ai., 1998; Giles-Sims ei al., 1995; Graziano & Namaste, 1990; Straw, 1994a). In view of the movement toward treating boys and girls more similarly, prior findings might not apply to this sample. However, row 5 of Table IV shows that the difference in the percentage of boys and girls who experienced CP during the year of this survey was statistically significant. Parents reported using CP with 65% of boys compared to 58% of girls. As for chronicity, Table Vindicates a significant difference. Of the boys who experienced CP, it occurred an average of 14.3 times, compared to an average of 12.9 times for girls. In addition, Table V shows a significant interaction between gender of child and child’s age. The deviation from the overall pattern was for children ages 2 to 4. At that age there was no difference at all in the chronicity of hitting boys and girls. Perhaps this is a ceiling effect because at
that age, the prevalence rate was 94%.


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