Journal of Family Violence

, 23:687 | Cite as

Corporal Punishment of Children: A Multi-Generational Perspective

  • Asher Ben-Arieh
  • Muhammad M. Haj-Yahia
Original Article


This paper presents a study on the self-reported usage and attitudes toward corporal punishment (CP) by a four generation sample of Jewish families in Jerusalem. The study included 655 participants: 200 adolescents, 208 young mothers, 199 old mothers, and 48 grandmothers, and tested for inter-generational and familial role differences. Results have shown that participants’ attitudes toward CP correlates significantly with age group; however, it does not correlate with family role. Implications of the results for practitioners who seek to reduce usage of CP are suggested.


Corporal punishment Multi-generational Inter-generational Family role 


  1. Andero, A. A. (2002). Issue of corporal punishment: Re-examined. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 29, 90–96.Google Scholar
  2. Ashton, V. (2001). The relationship between attitudes toward corporal punishment and the perception and reporting of child maltreatment. Child Abuse & Neglect, 25, 389–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ateah, C. A., & Durrant, J. E. (2005). Maternal use of physical punishmnet in response to child misbehavior: Implications for child abuse prevention. Child Abuse & Neglect, 29(2), 169–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bailey, M. (2003). The corporal punishment debate in Canada. Family Court Review, 41, 508–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Balckwater, D. E., & Passman, R. H. (1986). Grandmothers’ and mothers’ disciplining in three-generational families: The role of social responsibility in rewarding and punishing grandchildren. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50, 80–86. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.50.1.80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bartkowski, J. P., & Wilcox, W. B. (2000). Conservative Protestant child discipline: The case of parental yelling. Social Forces, 79, 263–290. doi: 10.2307/2675571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bromley, D. G., & Cress, C. H. (1998). Beyond corporal: Punishment debate rhetoric: The logic of child discipline in two social worlds. Marriage & Family: A Christian Journal, 1, 152–164.Google Scholar
  8. Bussmann, K. D. (2004). Evaluating the subtle impact of a ban on corporal punishment of children in Germany. Child Abuse Review, 13, 292–311. doi: 10.1002/car.866.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law v. Canada (Attorney General), [2004] 1 S.C.R. 76, 2004 SCC 4.Google Scholar
  10. Catron, T. F., & Masters, J. C. (1993). Mothers’ and children’s conceptualizations of corporal punishment. Child Development, 64, 1815–1828. doi: 10.2307/1131471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Culp, R. E., Culp, A. M., Dengler, B., & Maisano, P. C. (1999). First-time young mothers living in rural communities using corporal punishment with their toddlers. Journal of Community Psychology, 27, 503–509. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6629(199907)27:4<503::AID-JCOP10>3.0.CO;2-M.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Danso, H., Hunsberger, B., & Pratt, M. (1997). The role of parental religious fundamentalism and right-wing authoritarianism in child-rearing goals and practices. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 36, 496–511. doi: 10.2307/1387686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Daro, D., & Gelles, R. J. (1992). Public attitudes and behaviors with respect of child abuse prevention. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 7, 517–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Deley, W. W. (1988). Physical punishment of children: Sweden and the U.S.A. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 19, 419–431.Google Scholar
  15. Durrant, J. E., Rose-Krasnor, L., & Broberg, A. G. (2003). Physical punishment and maternal beliefs in Sweden and Canada. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 34, 585–604.Google Scholar
  16. Ellis, G. J., & Petersen, L. R. (1992). Socialization values and parental control techniques: A cross-cultural analysis of child rearing. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 23, 39–54.Google Scholar
  17. Ellison, C. G. (1996). Conservative Protestantism and the corporal punishment of children: Clarifying the issues. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 35, 1–16. doi: 10.2307/1386391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Flynn, C. P. (1994). Regional differences in attitudes toward corporal punishment. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 56, 314–324. doi: 10.2307/353102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gershoff, E. T. (2002). Corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviors and experiences: A meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 539–579. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.128.4.539.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Haj-Yahia, M. M., & Abdo-Kaloti, R. (2003). The rates and correlates of the exposure of Palestinian adolescents to family violence: Toward an integrative-holistic approach. Child Abuse & Neglect, 27, 781–806. doi: 10.1016/S0145-2134(03)00119-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Haj-Yahia, M. M., & Ben-Arieh, A. (2000). The incidence of Arab adolescents’ exposure to violence in their families of origin and its sociodemographic correlates. Child Abuse & Neglect, 24, 1299–1315. doi: 10.1016/S0145-2134(00)00185-X.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hall, S. (2004). Parents face dilemma after smacking vote. The Guardian July 6, 2004.Google Scholar
  23. Hemenway, D., Solnick, S., & Carter, J. (1994). Child rearing violence. Child Abuse & Neglect, 18, 1011–1020. doi: 10.1016/0145-2134(94)90126-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hyman, I. A. (1995). Corporal punishment, psychological maltreatment, violence, and punitiveness in America: Research, advocacy, and public policy. Applied & Preventive Psychology, 4, 113–130. doi: 10.1016/S0962-1849(05)80084-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jambunathan, S., & Counselman, K. P. (2002). Parenting attitudes of Asian Indian mothers living in the United States and in India. Early Child Development and Care, 172, 657–662. doi: 10.1080/03004430215102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kawanghee, J., & Honig, A. S. (2000). Intergenerational comparisons of paternal Korean childrearing practices and attitudes. Early Child Development and Care, 165, 59–84. doi: 10.1080/0300443001650105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Larzelere, R. E. (1999). Evaluations of the effects if Sweden’s spanking ban on physical child abuse rates: A literature review. Psychological Reports, 85, 381–392. doi: 10.2466/PR0.85.6.381-392.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Larzelere, R. E. (2000). Child outcomes of non abusive and customary physical punishment by parents: An updated literature review. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 3, 199–221. doi: 10.1023/A:1026473020315.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Liu, J. (1995). An intergenerational comparison of paternal child-rearing attitudes and ideas in Shanghai. Psychological Science (China), 18, 211–215.Google Scholar
  30. Mahoney, A., Donnelly, W. O., Lewis, T., & Maynard, C. (2000). Mother and father self-reports of corporal punishment and severe physical aggression toward clinic-referred youth. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 29, 266–281. doi: 10.1207/S15374424jccp2902_12.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Malhi, P., & Ray, M. (2004). Prevalence and correlates of corporal punishment among adolescents. Studia Psychologica, 46, 219–228.Google Scholar
  32. Murphy-Cowan, T., & Stringer, M. (1999). Physical punishment and the parenting cycle: A survey of Northern Irish parents. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 9, 61–71. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1298(199901/02)9:1<61::AID-CASP502>3.0.CO;2-P.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Owen, S. S. (2004). Corporal punishment experiences and attitudes in a sample of college students. Psychological Reports, 94, 348–350. doi: 10.2466/PR0.94.1.348-350.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Paolucci, E. O., & Violato, C. (2004). A meta-analysis of the published research on the affective, cognitive, and behavioral effects of corporal punishment. Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary & Applied, 138, 197–221. doi: 10.3200/JRLP.138.3.197-222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Payne, M. A. (1989). Use and abuse of corporal punishment: A Caribbean view. Child Abuse & Neglect, 13, 389–401. doi: 10.1016/0145-2134(89)90079-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Peled-Amir, T., & Kadman, Y. (2000). Saying no to corporal punishment of children. Jerusalem, Israel: National Council for the Child (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  37. Petersen, L. R., Lee, G. R., & Ellis, G. J. (1982). Social structure, socialization values, and disciplinary techniques: A cross-cultural analysis. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 44, 131–142. doi: 10.2307/351268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Proctor, B. D., & Dalaker, J. (2002). Poverty in the United States: 2002,
  39. Scott, J. (2000). Is it a different world to when you were growing up? Generational effects on social representations and child-rearing values. The British Journal of Sociology, 51, 355–376. doi: 10.1080/00071310050030226.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Sever, L. (1989). Change in women’s perceptions of parental child rearing attitudes in Turkey: A three generation comparison. Early Child Development and Care, 50, 131–138. doi: 10.1080/0300443890500111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Shor, R. (1999a). Inappropriate child rearing practices as perceived by Jewish immigrant parents from the former Soviet Union. Child Abuse & Neglect, 23, 487–499. doi: 10.1016/S0145-2134(99)00024-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Shor, R. (1999b). Beyond a cross-cultural definition of child maltreatment: Comparing immigrants from the Caucasus and European countries of the former Soviet Union. Early Child Development and Care, 150, 1–15. doi: 10.1080/0300443991500101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Simons, R. L., Whitbeck, L. B., Conger, R. D., & Wu, C. (1991). Intergenerational transmission of harsh parenting. Developmental Psychology, 27, 159–171. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.27.1.159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Straus, M. (1979). Measuring intrafamily conflict and violence: The conflict tactics scale. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 41, 75–88. doi: 10.2307/351733.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Straus, M. (2001). Beating the devil out of them: Corporal punishment in American families and its effects on children. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  46. Straus, M. (2003). The primordial violence: Corporal punishment by parents, cognitive development, and crime. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  47. Straus, M., Hamby, S. L., Finkelhor, D., Moore, D. W., & Runyan, D. (1995). Parent–Child Conflict Tactics Scale. Durham, NC: Family Research Lab, UNH.Google Scholar
  48. Straus, M., & Mathur, A. K. (1996). Social change and change in approval of corporal punishment by parents from 1968 to 1994. In D. Frehsee, W. Horn, & K. D. Bussmann (Eds.), Family violence against children: A challenge for society (pp. 91–105). New York, NY: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  49. Straus, M., & Stewart, J. H. (1999). Corporal punishment by American parents: National data on prevalence, chronicity, severity, and duration, in relation to child and family characteristics. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 2, 55–70. doi: 10.1023/A:1021891529770.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Trommsdorff, G., & Nauck, B. (2005). Factors influencing value of children and intergenerational relations in times of social change: Analyses from psychological and socio-cultural perpectives: Introduction to the special issue. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 54(3), 313–316.Google Scholar
  51. Vargas, N. A., Lopez, D., Perez, P., Toro, G., Zuniga, P., & Ciocca, P. (1993). Physical punishment in children: Opinions of the children of two schools. Revista Medica de Chile, 122, 958–963.Google Scholar
  52. Weller, S. C., Romney, A. K., & Orr, D. P. (1987). The myth of a sub-culture of corporal punishment. Human Organization, 46, 39–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wiehe, V. R. (1990). Religious influence on parental attitudes toward the use of corporal punishment. Journal of Family Violence, 5, 173–186. doi: 10.1007/BF00978518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wissow, L. S. (2001). Ethnicity, income, and parenting contexts of physical punishment in a national sample of families with young children. Child Maltreatment, 6, 118–129. doi: 10.1177/1077559501006002004.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Xu, X., Tung, Y., & Dunaway, R. G. (2000). Cultural, human and social capital as determinants of corporal punishment: Toward an integrated theoretical model. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 15, 603–630. doi: 10.1177/088626000015006004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Yodanis, C., Hill, K., & Straus, M. (2001). Tabular summaries of methodological characteristics of research using the Conflict Tactics Scale. Family Research Laboratory, University of New Hampshire.Google Scholar
  57. Youssef, R. M., Attia, M. S., & Kamel, M. I. (1998). Children experiencing violence I: Parental use of corporal punishment. Child Abuse & Neglect, 22, 959–973. doi: 10.1016/S0145-2134(98)00077-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Ziegert, K. A. (1983). The Swedish prohibition of corporal punishment: A preliminary report. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 45, 917–926. doi: 10.2307/351805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social WelfareThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations