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Fathers are more common among parents who report using different types of discipline with their children and in families with intimate partner violence, according to a new research abstract presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exposition. in 2022.


The authors of the abstract, Predictors of Corporal Punishment During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results from a National Survey, found that 64.5% of caregivers who reported hitting their child or children also reported intimate partner violence. The study found that caregivers who used more nonviolent disciplinary strategies, such as time-outs, increased the odds of using corporal punishment.

“Caregivers want their children to be the best. Our data suggests that caregivers use different forms of non-aggressive discipline; however, these strategies may not work for them,” said Dr. J. Bart Klicka, Chief Scientist at Prevent Child Abuse America. “For those who work directly with families, we can’t just give caregivers a list of discipline strategies. Instead, we need to talk to caregivers about how to use these non-aggressive strategies in a developmentally appropriate way. At follow-up visits, our question should be about the effectiveness of these strategies rather than just asking what strategies were used.’

The AAP, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Centers for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Tufts Medical Center, surveyed 9,000 caregivers to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on family life and education. Three rounds of surveys (with 3,000 different carers in each survey) were carried out by YouGov between November 2020 and July 2021. The survey asked carers about financial stress, changes in employment, domestic violencepositive and negative stress management strategies and discipline techniques.

Participants were asked about the use of corporal punishment in the past week and other forms of violence in the family. The majority of caregivers (83.5%) reported that they had not spanked their child or children in the past seven days. However, one in six reported being spanked during this period.

“It is vital to consider the safety of everyone in the home when a parent reports that they have hit or spanked a child, as intimate partner violence may also be present,” said Dr Klicka. “Understanding the Co-Occurrence of Corporal Punishment and intimate partner violence especially important for health workers and doctors. This knowledge can help providers assess family violence and provide appropriate support and resources for families.”

The study authors found that this information can help providers talk to families about discipline and violence in the home, but more research is needed to understand why caregivers who use multiple discipline strategies turn to spanking.


The study examines the co-occurrence of intimate partner violence and child maltreatment


Additional information:
Predictors of Corporal Punishment During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results from a National Survey, American Academy of Pediatrics 2022 National Conference and Exposition.

Citation: Spanking Related to Other Forms of Discipline, Intimate Partner Violence (2022, October 7) Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-spanking-discipline-intimate-partner -violence.html

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