51 Attitudes Toward Spanking

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Psychology

Text of 51 Attitudes Toward Spanking

  • Attitudes Toward Spanking

    Updated: April 2013

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    In2012,accordingtoanationallyrepresentativesurvey,77percentofmen,and65

    percentofwomen18to65yearsoldagreedthatachildsometimesneedsagood

    hardspanking.Thisproportionhasdeclinedmodestlysince1986amongwomen,

    whileapprovalamongmales,afterdecliningintotheearly1990s,remainedsteady

    sincethen.

    Importance Oneofthemostfrequentlyusedstrategiestodisciplineachild,especiallyayoungerchild,isspanking.1About94percentofparentsofchildrenagesthreetofourintheUnitedStatesreporthavingspankedtheirchildreninthepreviousyear.2

    However,useofcorporalpunishmentislinkedtonegativeoutcomesforchildren(e.g.,delinquency,antisocialbehavior,psychologicalproblems,andalcoholanddrugabuse),andmaybeindicativeofineffectiveparenting.3,4,5Researchalsofindsthatthenumberofproblembehaviorsobservedinadolescenceisrelatedtotheamountofspankingachildreceives.Thegreatertheageofthechild,thestrongertherelationship.6

    Positivechildoutcomesaremorelikelywhenparentsrefrainfromusingspankingandotherphysicalpunishment,andinsteaddisciplinetheirchildrenthroughcommunicationthatisfirm,reasoned,andnurturing.7Studiesfindthistypeofdisciplinecanfosterpositivepsychologicaloutcomes,suchashighselfesteemandcooperationwithothers,aswellasimprovedachievementinschool.8

    Thetypeofdisciplineparentsemployisofteninfluencedbyboththeageandthereasoningabilityofthechild.9Forexample,ayoungerchildmaybelessabletorespondtorationalverbaldiscipline;analternativestrategymightbetoredirectthechildsattention.10Incontrast,olderchildrenmayrespondmorereadilytoreasonedcommunicationthatisbothfirmandnurturing.

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    Trends Intheperiodbetween1986and2012,theproportionofwomenwhoagreedorstronglyagreedthatitissometimesnecessarytogiveachildagood,hardspankingdroppedby22percent(from82to65percent).Whileapprovalamongmendroppedsevenpercentbetween1986and1991(from84to78percent),ithassinceremainedsteadyandwasat77percentin2012.(Figure1)

    Differences by Gender In2012,menweresignificantlymorelikelythanwomentoagreeorstronglyagreethatitissometimesnecessarytogiveachildagood,hardspanking(77and65percent,respectively).(Figure1)

    84 82

    7378

    7379

    75 7782

    75 77

    6972

    6973

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    65

    0

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    1985 1988 1991 1994 1997 2000 2003 2006 2009 2012

    Percen

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    Percentage of Males and Females Ages 18 to 65 Who Agree or Strongly Agree that it is Sometimes Necessary to Discipline a Child with a "Good,

    Hard Spanking," Selected Years 1986-2012

    Figure 1

    Source: Data for 1986-2000 was reproduced from Child Trends. 2002. Charting Parenthood: A Statistical Portrait of Fathers and Mothers in America. Washington, DC: Child Trends. Table P5.1. Data for 2002-2012: Original analysis by Child Trends of the General Social Survey

    Females

    Males

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    Differences by Race and Hispanic Origin BlackandHispanicwomenaremorelikelythanarewhitewomentoagreeorstronglyagreethatagoodhardspankingissometimesnecessary.In2012,74percentofblackwomenand76percentofHispanicwomen,comparedwith64percentofwhitewomenagreedthatachildsometimesneedsagoodhardspanking.AsianandPacificIslanderwomenweretheleastlikelytoagree,at12percent.(Figure2)

    64

    74 76

    12

    64

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    90

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    100

    WhitenonHispanic BlacknonHispanic Hispanic Asian/PacificIslander AmericanIndian/AlaskanNative

    Percen

    t

    Females Males

    Source: Child Trends' original analysis of the General Social Survey 2012.

    Percentage of Adults Who Agree that it is Sometimes Necessary to Give a Child a "Good Hard Spanking," by Race and Hispanic Origin and Sex,

    2012

    Figure 2

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    Differences by Educational Attainment In2012,collegeeducatedwomenandmenwerelesslikelythantheircounterpartswithlesseducationtoendorsespanking.(Figure3)

    Differences by Age Therearenosignificantdifferencesbyagegroupintheproportionofmenorwomenwhoagreeorstronglyagreethatspankingachildissometimesnecessary.

    State and Local Estimates Noneavailable.

    80

    6661 63

    76

    8379

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    0

    25

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    100

    Lessthanhighschool HighschooldiplomaorGED Vocational/technicalorsomecollege

    Collegegraduate

    Percen

    t

    Females males

    Figure 3

    Source: Child Trends' original analysis of the General Social Survey 2012

    Percentage of Adults Who Agree that it is Sometimes Necessary to Give a Child a "Good Hard Spanking," by Education and Sex, 2012

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    International Estimates Noneavailable.

    National Goals None.

    What Works to Make Progress on the Indicator SeeChildTrendsLINKSdatabase(LifecourseInterventionstoNurtureKidsSuccessfully)forreviewsofmanyrigorouslyevaluatedprograms,includingthefollowingwhichhavebeenshowntobeeffectivefortrainingparentsinpositive,nonviolentparenting:

    EarlyStart:www.childtrends.org/?programs=earlystart

    HealthyFamiliesNewYork:www.childtrends.org/?programs=healthyfamiliesnewyorkhfny

    ParentChildInteractionTherapy:www.childtrends.org/?programs=parentchildinteractiontherapy

    STARParentingProgram:www.childtrends.org/?programs=starstopthinkaskrespondparentingprogram

    TriplePPositiveParentingProgram:www.childtrends.org/?programs=tripleppositiveparentingprogram

    Related Indicators Childmaltreatment:www.childtrends.org/?indicators=childmaltreatment

    Childrensexposuretoviolence:www.childtrends.org/?indicators=childrensexposuretoviolence

    Parentalwarmthandaffection:www.childtrends.org/?indicators=parentalwarmthandaffection(archived)

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    Definition AdultsintheGeneralSocialSurveywereaskedtoreportwhethertheystronglyagree,agree,disagree,orstronglydisagreethatitissometimesnecessarytodisciplineachildwithagoodhardspanking.

    Data Sources Datafor20022012:OriginalanalysisbyChildTrendsoftheGeneralSocialSurvey

    conductedbytheNationalOpinionResearchCenterattheUniversityofChicago.Availableathttp://sda.berkeley.edu/cgibin/hsda?harcsda+gss10

    Datafor19862000:ChildTrends.2002.ChartingParenthood:AStatisticalPortraitofFathersandMothersinAmerica.Washington,D.C.:ChildTrends.http://www.childtrends.org/Files/ParenthoodRpt2002.pdf(SeeIndicatorP5andTableP5.1)

    Raw Data Source GeneralSocialSurvey

    www.norc.org/GSS+Website/

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    Appendix 1 - Percentage of Males Ages 18 to 65 Who Either Agree or Strongly Agree that it is Sometimes Necessary to Discipline a Child with a "Good, Hard Spanking": Selected Years, 1986-2012

    1986 1988 1989 1990 1991 1993 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012

    Total 84 81 83 82 78 73 78 73 77 79 75 77 76 77 75 77RaceandHispanicOrigin1 WhitenonHispanic 84 80 83 82 75 73 76 73 75 79 74 77 74 77 77 78BlacknonHispanic 80 93 80 93 91 80 90 82 90 87 80 87 90 92 82 90Hispanic 80 79 55 75 69 82 77 76 67 62 72Asian/PacificIslander 72 59 78 83 72 47AmericanIndian/AlaskanNative 81 75 84 91 60 79 70 53 86

    PovertyStatus Poor 84 76 80 79 80 69 Nonpoor 83 81 82 82 78 74

    MaritalStatus Currentlymarried 86 86 82 82 82 74 78 75 78 78 76 76 77 79 78 80Notcurrentlymarried 81 77 83 82 74 72 78 72 76 79 73 78 75 75 71 75

    ParentalStatus Parent 82 84 82 84 83 76 80 74 78 79 76 78 78 80 75 78Nonparent 87 77 83 80 70 69 76 71 75 79 74 75 72 71 75 76

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    1986 1988 1989 1990 1991 1993 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2011AgeofRespondent

    18to24yearsold 83 71 85 76 73 67 58 69 79 79 68 78 79 68 69 8125to44yearsold 84 81 81 81 75 74 79 73 76 76 78 75 75 78 79 7745to65yearsold 83 84 83 86 82 73 81 74 77 81 75 78 76 79 74 76

    EducationalAttainment Lessthanhighschool 83 85 80 87 80 74 78 77 85 87 81 72 78 81 63 76HighschooldiplomaorGED 84 82 85 86 79 76 81 75 79 84 79 80 84 81 85 83Vocational/technicalorsomecollege 78 88 81 81 82 86 72 75 81 77 72 73 79 78 79

    Collegegraduate 83 76 78 74 70 66 72 68 69 66 67 78 70 66 71 70EmploymentStatus Notinlaborforce 86 81 83 82 82 75 76 73 77 77 77 80 67 77 77 77Lookingforwork 72 72 76 72 58 66 73 67 71 85 84 69 90 80 77 58Lessthan35hoursperweek 74 95 76 71 73 61 71 67 57 76 82

    35hoursormoreperweek 81 82 84 86 75 71 83 76 77 84 76 78 78 79 74 79Note:Scoresbasedontwocategories:StronglyAgreeorAgree

    ""datanotavailable1PersonsofHispanicoriginmaybeofanyrace.

    Source:Datafor19862000wasreproducedfromChildTrends.2002.ChartingParenthood:AStatisticalPortraitofFathersandMothersinAmerica.Washington,DC:ChildTrends.

    P5.1.Datafor20022010areaproductofChildTrends'originalanalysisoftheGeneralSocialSurvey,20022010.

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    Appendix 2 - Percentage of Females Ages 18 to 65 Who Either Agree or Strongly Agree that it is Sometimes Necessary to Discipline a Child with a "Good, Hard Spanking": Selected Years, 1986-2012

    1986 1988 1989 1990 1991 1993 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012

    Total 82 76 75 77 69 72 69 70 69 71 73 69 69 65 64 65RaceandHispanicOrigin1 WhitenonHispanic 80 74 72 74 64 69 66 67 66 67 74 65 66 63 61 64BlacknonHispanic 92 88 88 93 84 88 87 84 82 84 80 94 84 80 76 74Hispanic 81 77 86 83 66 65 67 73 76 56 72 65 61 67 76Asian/PacificIslander 55 62 46 74 60 52 12AmericanIndian/AlaskanNative 92 85 69 65 81 76 78 70 59 88 64