ERIC Number: ED332829
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Children's and Mother's Judgments about the Acceptable Use of Corporal Punishment.
Catron, Thomas F.; Masters, John C.
Preschool children (N=23) and fifth-grade children (N=23) and their mothers judged the acceptability of corporal punishment as a function of the type of transgression (acting danerously, violating a social rule, or violating a moral precept) and discipline agent. Children of both ages and their mothers discriminated among different types of transgressions as a function of rule contingency, rule generalizability, and seriousness of the transgression. Compared to others, social convention transgressions were judged to be more rule contingent, less generalizable across settings, and less serious than dangerous or moral violations; however, children overall judged transgressions to be more generalizable than did their mothers. Preschool children showed broad acceptability for severe corporal punishment, that was consequent to any type of transgression, and administered by any agent, whereas fifth graders were generally discriminating about limits of punishability, and their judgments appeared to be transitional between the broad acceptance shown by younger children and more focused acceptability shown by mothers. Mothers did not condone punishment by other agents and tended to focus on dangerous and moral violations as most punishable. Findings suggest a developmental path from a single criterion for young children to consideration of multiple criteria for older children and adults. Judgments were also interpreted as reflecting social roles such as parents' responsibility to constrain children and children's expectations for constraint. Implications for children's ability to identify and report abuse are discussed. (RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Yale Univ., New Haven, CT. Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy.; Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN. Inst. for Public Policy Studies.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Acceptability Judgments
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Seattle, WA, April 18-20, 1991).