Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 10, pp 2867–2875 | Cite as

Perceived Appropriateness as a Moderator of the Association between Corporal Punishment and Chinese Adolescents’ Externalizing Behaviors

  • Meifang Wang
  • Jingya Li
  • Li LiuEmail author
Original Paper



Parental corporal punishment has consistently been linked to adolescents’ negative outcomes, such as externalizing behaviors. Studies have suggested that adolescents’ subjective perceptions of parental corporal punishment may moderate the relations between corporal punishment and adolescents’ externalizing behaviors. From this perspective, adolescents’ perceived appropriateness of corporal punishment may be an important moderator. Unfortunately, limited research has addressed the moderating role of adolescents’ perceived appropriateness in the association between parental corporal punishment and adolescents’ externalizing behaviors. The present study examined this issue in China.


A sample of 1164 Chinese adolescents aged 11–16 years old (M = 14.36 years, SD = 0.96; 48.8% boys) completed measures on parental corporal punishment, perceived appropriateness of corporal punishment, and externalizing behaviors.


The results indicated that adolescents’ perceived appropriateness of corporal punishment intensified the association between parental corporal punishment and adolescents’ externalizing behaviors. Adolescents who perceived corporal punishment as appropriate were more likely to engage in externalizing behaviors. Moreover, no gender difference was identified in the moderating effects of adolescents’ perceived appropriateness of corporal punishment.


Findings from the present study highlight the importance of adolescents’ subjective perceptions of corporal punishment, which may influence the negative outcomes associated with corporal punishment and can help improve interventions aimed at reducing these negative outcomes.


Perceived appropriateness Corporal punishment Externalizing behaviors Chinese adolescents 



This research was supported by National Nature Science Foundation of China (Grant nos. 31571133 and 31800939). We are grateful to all the adolescents, parents, and teachers who participated or contributed to this project.

Author Contributions

M.W.: designed and executed the study, and collaborated with the writing of the study. J.L.: analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript. L.L.: collaborated with the design and writing of the study, and edited the final manuscript.


This study was funded by National Nature Science Foundation of China (Grant nos. 31571133 and 31800939).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Shandong Normal University provided IRB approval for the study.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyShandong Normal UniversityJinanChina

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