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How do parents label their physical disciplinary practices? A focus on the definition of corporal punishment

TitleHow do parents label their physical disciplinary practices? A focus on the definition of corporal punishment
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsFréchette, S., and Romano É.
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume71
Pages92 - 103
Keywordsattitudes, corporal punishment, physical disciplinary strategies, self-report
Abstract

The lack of consensus about the definition of corporal punishment (CP) contributes to the varying research findings and fuels the debate surrounding its use. Related to the problem of definitional variability is also the possibility that some parents may not be aware that their physical disciplinary strategies (PDS) are forms of CP. As a first step to move beyond the debate and to tailor educational efforts to change cultural norms and parents' behaviors, the objective of the current study was to clarify what parents self-label as CP. Using a sample of 338 Canadian parents, the study assessed the relationship between endorsement of CP and self-reports of specific PDS ranging in level of severity. Predictors (i.e., cultural norms, attitudes toward and childhood experiences of CP) of this relationship were investigated. Results revealed that general questions on CP may best reflect parental use of milder forms of PDS, such as spanking (Phi = 0.62; r = -0.65) and slapping on the hand, arm, or leg (r = -0.47). Results also suggested that some parents (19.8%) do not endorse CP but use mild PDS. To move beyond the debate and to reach parents at risk of underreporting their use of CP, educational messages need to be tailored to specific and mild forms of PDS rather than to broad concepts such as CP. Moreover, factors such as attitudes toward corporal punishment (p

URLhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0145213417300431
DOI10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.02.003