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International Journal of Pediatrics
Volume 2010, Article ID 672780, 12 pages
Research Article

Corporal Punishment of Children in Nine Countries as a Function of Child Gender and Parent Gender

1Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA
2Department of Psychology, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City 1108, Philippines
3Queen Rania Faculty for Childhood, The Hashemite University, Zarqa 13115, Jordan
4Department of Psychology, Second University of Naples, 81100 Caserta, Italy
5Faculty of Psychology, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, 00185 Rome, Italy
6Child and Family Research Program in Developmental Neuroscience, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
7Department of Educational Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
8Department of Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
9Department of Educational Psychology, Maseno University, Maseno 40105, Kenya
10Department of Social Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
11Department of Psychology, University West, 46186 Trollhätten, Sweden
12Department of Psychiatry, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
13Consultorio Psicológico Popular, Universidad San Buenaventura, Medellín, Colombia
14Deptartment of Education Sciences, “Foro Italico”, University of Rome, 00135 Rome, Italy

Received 25 January 2010; Revised 14 April 2010; Accepted 13 July 2010

Academic Editor: Ivan Barry Pless

Copyright © 2010 Jennifer E. Lansford et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a global perspective on corporal punishment by examining differences between mothers' and fathers' use of corporal punishment with daughters and sons in nine countries. Methods. Interviews were conducted with 1398 mothers, 1146 fathers, and 1417 children (age range to 10 years) in China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States. Results. Across the entire sample, 54% of girls and 58% of boys had experienced mild corporal punishment, and 13% of girls and 14% of boys had experienced severe corporal punishment by their parents or someone in their household in the last month. Seventeen percent of parents believed that the use of corporal punishment was necessary to rear the target child. Overall, boys were more frequently punished corporally than were girls, and mothers used corporal punishment more frequently than did fathers. There were significant differences across countries, with reports of corporal punishment use lowest in Sweden and highest in Kenya. Conclusion. This work establishes that the use of corporal punishment is widespread, and efforts to prevent corporal punishment from escalating into physical abuse should be commensurately widespread.