تنبیه بدنی و نگهداری کودک
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|31030||2006||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Volume 27, Issue 6, November–December 2006, Pages 527–541
The association between corporal punishment and children's emotional and behavioral functioning was studied in a sample of 98 non-referred children with a mean age of 12.35 (SD=1.72) recruited from two school systems in the southeastern United States. Children were divided into those who had experienced no corporal punishment over approximately a two-week period, those who had experienced mild levels of corporal punishment (i.e., 1 or 2 instances), and those who had experienced high levels of corporal punishment (i.e., 3 or more instances). Results indicated that use of corporal punishment was associated with problems in both emotional and behavioral adjustment. However, these associations were strongest for children who experienced high levels of corporal punishment, for children who were impulsive, and for children who did not experience a warm and supportive family climate.
Parental use of corporal punishment (i.e., spanking or hitting a child for a transgression) is a common method of disciplining children. Indeed, researchers have reported that over 94% of parents of toddlers use some form of corporal punishment (Straus & Stewart, 1999) and that 75% of a college student sample reported experiencing some form of corporal punishment in their childhood (Ateah & Parker, 2002). The debate over the appropriateness of this form of discipline has been detailed extensively in terms of moral, religious, and political foundations (Benjet and Kazdin, 2003, Gershoff, 2002, Greven, 1990, Kazdin and Benjet, 2003 and Straus, 1994). The intensity of the debate is illustrated by the fact that, for some, corporal punishment is a moral imperative for parents and a necessary aspect of parents' obligation to discipline their children; for others, the use of corporal punishment is an act of aggression that should be banned by law. In fact, a number of countries (e.g., Austria, Finland, Germany, Sweden) have made corporal punishment illegal as a means of discipline for children at home and school (Gershoff, 2002 and Kazdin and Benjet, 2003). There exists a rather extensive empirical literature on the association between corporal punishment and children's adjustment. In one of the most comprehensive reviews of the literature to date, Gershoff (2002) provided a meta-analysis of 88 studies investigating the association between corporal punishment and children's adjustment. The results provide a rather negative picture of the effects of corporal punishment on children. The only positive effect that was noted was on the child's immediate compliance to parental commands. In contrast, a number of negative effects of corporal punishment were documented across studies. For example, parental use of corporal punishment showed a positive association with aggression, delinquent/antisocial behavior, and becoming a victim of child abuse in children. Corporal punishment was negatively correlated with internalization of parental norms and quality of parent–child relationships. Beside these concurrent relations, this meta-analysis documented an association between the experience of corporal punishment in childhood and problems in adult adjustment, including aggression, criminal/antisocial behavior, abuse of spouse and/or child, and poor mental health. The link between corporal punishment and problems in adjustment, combined with the high rates of corporal punishment that currently exist, is clearly a source of concern. However, a key question is whether or not the state of research, as reflected in this meta-analysis, should be the final word for guiding mental health policy. Kazdin and Benjet (2003) noted that there are a number of important issues not addressed adequately by the existing research that could help to guide policy decisions (see also Benjet & Kazdin, 2003). The first issue concerns the wide variety of definitions of corporal punishment that have been used in past research and that were combined in the Gershoff meta-analysis. That is, past research has often not distinguished between frequent and severe levels of punishment (e.g., slapping in face, hitting with object to cause injury) that either were or would be considered abusive, from occasional use of mild physical discipline (e.g., spanking with open hand). Illustrating the importance of this distinction, Baumrind, Larzelere, and Cowan (2002) conducted a reanalysis of the studies included in the Gershoff (2002) meta-analysis and found that more negative outcomes were associated with children exposed to more severe forms of punishment. Unfortunately, most studies have not provided the data necessary to determine whether this link between more severe punishment and negative outcomes is due to a linear or curvilinear relation between corporal punishment and child adjustment. That is, it is possible that problems in child adjustment increase as the level of corporal punishment increases. However, it is also possible that there may be a curvilinear relationship, with both low and very high levels of corporal punishment being associated with problems in adjustment. The few studies that have used a methodology that can distinguish between linear and curvilinear associations have led to mixed results. For example, Larzelere (1986) examined the association between corporal punishment and aggression in children by comparing three levels of spanking frequency (minimal, moderate, and frequent) on the frequency of aggressive behaviors children exhibited toward family members. He reported that the frequency of aggressive behaviors increased as the frequency of spanking increased. Bryan and Freed (1982) included measures of both frequency and intensity of corporal punishment and found that an increase in both intensity and frequency was associated with an increase in aggression. Strassberg, Dodge, Pettit, and Bates (1994) differentiated between different types of physical punishment by comparing three types of punishment (no spanking, spanking, and violent hitting) and its association with measures of child aggression. Level of aggression increased across the conditions in a linear fashion for all types of corporal punishment (Strassberg et al., 1994). In contrast to these findings of a linear association between corporal punishment and child aggression, some studies have found that mild forms of corporal punishment may not be associated with more problems in child adjustment, and may even be associated with more positive adjustment. For example, Parke and Slaby (1983) reviewed the literature regarding the antecedents to the development of childhood aggression and concluded that aggression increases only in the presence of high intensity physical punishment, but not mild physical punishment. Similarly, in a prospective longitudinal study, Lefkowitz, Eron, Walder, and Huesmann (1977) found that medium levels of punishment in childhood were associated with the lowest aggression scores later in development. Some of the positive effects of mild levels of corporal punishment may be due to the fact that parents who use infrequent and mild spanking typically use it in the context of other forms of discipline. Specifically, Larzelere (2000) reported that spanking had beneficial outcomes in 2- to 6-year-old children (e.g., reduced non-compliance, reduced fighting) when it was mild and used primarily to back up other disciplinary tactics. Similarly, Wissow (2001) reported that, in a large national sample of 2017 parents, those who used average levels of corporal punishment made more frequent use of nonphysical disciplinary strategies (e.g., time out) and had higher levels of nurturing interactions compared to parents who reported below-average levels of spanking. However, both of these groups reported lower levels of nurturing interactions with their children when compared to parents who reported high levels of corporal punishment. Taken together, it is clear that research on corporal punishment must study mild and more normative forms of such discipline separately from more severe forms in determining its association with child aggression. In doing so, it is also important to broaden the focus to other areas of child adjustment. That is, much of the existing research has focused on the potential link between corporal punishment and the presence of aggression, conduct problems, and delinquency in children (e.g., Bradley et al., 2001, Bryan and Freed, 1982, Cohen and Brook, 1995, Haapasalo and Pokela, 1999, Kandel and Wu, 1995, Stormshak et al., 2000, Strassberg et al., 1994, Straus and Kaufman-Kantor, 1994 and Straus and Stewart, 1999). A less studied aspect of corporal punishment is its potential effects on a child's self-concept. It is possible that, even if mild corporal punishment does not lead to increases in conduct problems or aggression, it still could have a negative effect on the development of a child's self-concept or lead to signs of emotional distress that reflect problems in the child's self-esteem. In support of this possibility, several studies have found that use of corporal punishment is positively related to measures of emotional distress in children (Eamon, 2001) and negatively related to measures of self-esteem (Bryan and Freed, 1982 and Litvosky and Dusek, 1985). However, such negative effects on the child's self-concept and emotional functioning have not always been found (Bradley et al., 2001, Growe, 1980, Nielsen and Metha, 1994 and Peterson et al., 1983) and, again, the inconsistent findings may be due to variations in the definitions of corporal punishment used across studies. Although the conflicting results in existing research may be due to variations in the definitions of corporal punishment, it is also possible that there are moderators to the detrimental effects of corporal punishment on children's adjustment (Benjet and Kazdin, 2003 and Kazdin and Benjet, 2003). One such moderator is the broader family context in which the corporal punishment takes place. That is, most previous investigations that have studied the potential negative effects of corporal punishment on child adjustment have failed to control for other parenting behaviors that may be correlated with the use of corporal punishment (Simons, Johnson, & Conger, 1994). That is, parents who use higher rates of corporal punishment also may be more likely to hold authoritarian attitudes toward child-rearing. Such attitudes focus on a strict rule-oriented approach to parenting that emphasizes child obedience and de-emphasizes parental warmth and nurturance (Baumrind, 1968 and Baumrind, 1971). A parenting style such as this has been linked to less optimal child adjustment in many samples (Baumrind, 1973 and Darling and Steinberg, 1993). As a result, some of the negative effects documented for corporal punishment may be due to the harsh family climate in which it is often embedded. It is possible that some parents are able to combine a warm and nurturing family climate with strict rule enforcement, including corporal punishment. This would be consistent with descriptions of an authoritative parenting style that has been linked to more optimal child adjustment (Baumrind, 1973 and Darling and Steinberg, 1993). In support of this possible moderating role of family climate, Larzelere (1986) reported that a positive association between spanking and aggression was eliminated when parents used frequent discussion, in addition to spanking, to resolve conflicts. Similarly, Simons et al. (1994) reported that level of parental involvement moderated the negative impact of corporal punishment on child adjustment. Another potential moderator of the association between corporal punishment and child adjustment is the ethnicity of the family. That is, a number of studies have found that African–American families view corporal punishment as more acceptable and use it more often than Caucasian families (Baumrind, 1997, McLeod et al., 1994, Molnar et al., 2003 and Straus and Stewart, 1999). Also, the cultural context in which a parenting practice takes place can influence how the child perceives the practice. For example, Deater-Deckard, Dodge, Bates, and Pettit (1996) speculated that African–American children may not perceive physical punishment as an indication of a lack of parental warmth due to the more accepted and normative views associated with the practice in their culture (see also Dietz, 2000). In support of this possibility, these authors found that physical discipline was associated with aggression only in Caucasian children and not in African–American children. Stormshak et al. (2000) also found that physical punishment was more strongly associated with internalizing behavior problems in Caucasian than in African–American children. Therefore, it is possible that ethnicity may moderate the effects of corporal punishment on both the child's level of aggression and his or her self-concept. A final potential moderator of the relation between corporal punishment and child adjustment is the child's temperament or personality. Specifically, parenting practices may have different effects on children depending on the temperament of the child (Bates, Pettit, Dodge, & Ridge, 1998). However, few studies have specifically examined the potential moderating role of child characteristics on the association between corporal punishment and child adjustment. One exception is a study by Colder, Lochman, and Wells (1997) who reported that overactive and impulsive children seemed to be particularly vulnerable to the effects of harsh parenting. That is, impulsive and overactive children who were exposed to harsh discipline were at particularly high risk for showing aggression in their sample of 4th and 5th grade boys. Based on these issues, the current study investigated the association between three levels of corporal punishment found in a non-referred sample of children recruited from two school systems in the southeastern United States. In order to ensure significant variability in both the measures of corporal punishment and child adjustment, a high risk sampling procedure was used to over-sample children with significant conduct problems and their families. The first question addressed was whether or not any use of corporal punishment would be associated with problems in child adjustment or whether problems in adjustment would only be found at high levels of physical punishment. In addition, the association between the three levels of corporal punishment and child adjustment was tested separately for child conduct problems and child emotional adjustment. Finally, the potential moderating role of the family climate (i.e., use of a warm and responsive parenting style), race (i.e., African–American and Caucasian) and child characteristics (i.e. impulsive-overactive behaviors) on the association between corporal punishment and child adjustment was tested. It is important to note that, in testing these associations, no assumption of causation is made from these correlational data. That is, such a correlation design makes it impossible to determine if the method of punishment might be causing problems in child adjustment (Gershoff, 2002), whether children with problems in adjustment may evoke harsher types of parenting (Bell, 1968 and Lytton, 1990) or even whether a third variable, such as personality characteristics of the parents, might be leading to both the preferred parental discipline style and the child's problems in adjustment (Frick & Jackson, 1993).