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To Spank or Not To Spank: The Effect of Situation and Age of Child on Support for Corporal Punishment

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Abstract

This study examined college students' attitudes toward spanking as a function of the situational context and age of the child. As expected, respondents were more likely to find spanking appropriate for preschool (ages 3–4) and early school age children (ages 7–8) than for older children (ages 11–12). Physical punishment was also viewed as more suitable when the child's misbehavior was disrespectful (talking back to a parent), or violated strongly held norms (hitting a playmate, stealing), and less appropriate for age-related or less serious misbehavior. Gender and race differences emerged, with males and blacks showing more support for corporal punishment than females and whites. In general, findings revealed strong support for spanking, although there was evidence of some ambivalence, especially among white and female respondents. Implications of the findings are discussed.

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Flynn, C.P. To Spank or Not To Spank: The Effect of Situation and Age of Child on Support for Corporal Punishment. Journal of Family Violence 13, 21–37 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022808716048

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022808716048

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