, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 187-196
Date: 20 Apr 2007

Harsh Discipline and Child Problem Behaviors: The Roles of Positive Parenting and Gender

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This study examined harsh verbal and physical discipline and child problem behaviors in a community sample of 2,582 parents and their fifth and sixth grade children. Participants were recruited from pediatric practices, and both parents and children completed questionnaire packets. The findings indicated that boys received more harsh verbal and physical discipline than girls, with fathers utilizing more harsh physical discipline with boys than did mothers. Both types of harsh discipline were associated with child behavior problems uniquely after positive parenting was taken into account. Child gender did not moderate the findings, but one dimension of positive parenting (i.e., parental warmth) served to buffer children from the detrimental influences of harsh physical discipline. The implications of the findings for intervention programs are discussed.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.