Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work

Document Type



This study examined variables associated with the use of corporal punishment (CP) by parents who hold attitudes that do not support CP, via secondary analysis of an existing nationally representative data set, obtained by the Gallup organization. A cross-sectional telephone survey design was used. The sample consisted of 318 parents, with at least one child between birth and 17 in the home. Independent variables included demographic characteristics, childhood experiences with CP and family violence, contemporaneous household stressors, and parental anger responses. Parents’ use of CP in the past year was the dependent variable. Results indicated that among parents who do not support CP, those parents who used it were significantly more likely to have been female, single, African American, and younger. They more likely had less than a college education, an annual income of less than $15,000, and younger children. More likely they reported having received corporal punishment at about age 13, having been exposed to parental spousal violence as a teenager, having experienced spousal violence in the past year, and having administered unjustified punishment to the child out of anger. Results of discriminant analysis identified a five variable model that correctly classified 77.5% of the cases (p < .001). The order of the five variables entering the model were: age of child, reporting of anger responses, having received CP when about age 13, race, and having been physically abused as a child. Having younger children, reporting anger responses, having received CP at age 13, and being African American were associated with an increased likelihood of using CP. Having been physically abused as a child was associated with a decreased likelihood of using CP. Findings imply that social work assessments, interventions, and policy initiatives need to utilize the biopsychosocial perspective, with an emphasis on early intervention. Future research recommendations include: analyses of interaction effects among independent variables identified in the present study; additional research on the use of CP by females and African Americans, and on the nature of parental anger and the use of CP; focus on behavioral intention; and qualitative approaches that seek additional variables for consideration.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Catherine Lemieux



Included in

Social Work Commons