Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 51–61 | Cite as

Physical Discipline and Socioemotional Adjustment Among Jamaican Adolescents

  • Delores E. Smith
  • Cary M. Springer
  • Sheila Barrett
Original Article


The study examined the relationship between physical punishment and socioemotional well-being in a sample of Jamaican adolescents. The data indicated that the overwhelming majority of adolescent respondents experienced physical punishment within their families. Physical punishment was significantly associated with adverse psychological and behavioral consequences, in that adolescents reporting being victims of physical punishment also indicated a greater propensity to developmental adjustment problems than their non-victimized peers. However, unlike findings from research emanating from more industrialized cultures, sociodemographic factors were not associated with the incidence of physical punishment. Gender showed statistical significance on all socioemotional dimensions and with behavior problems but not with physical punishment. Implications for policy decisions to reduce children’s exposure to violence within that particular cultural context are discussed.


Adolescents Physical punishment Internalizing distress Behavior problems 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Delores E. Smith
    • 1
  • Cary M. Springer
    • 2
  • Sheila Barrett
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Child and Family StudiesUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.Statistical Computing CenterUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Dietetics and NutritionFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA

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