ERIC Number: ED332140
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-May-23
Reference Count: N/A
Physical Punishment and the Development of Aggressive and Violent Behavior: A Review.
The value of physical or corporal punishment is disputed among psychologists; most regard it as harmless, although a subgroup of researchers has controversially suggested that parental use of physical punishment may be causally related to the development of aggression. Thus, the psychological community appears to have separated into determined pro- and anti-physical punishment factions. An examination of the literature reveals that most studies are supportive of a relationship between physical punishment and aggression. Further, prospective studies suggest that physical punishment may contribute etiologically towards the development of aggressive behavior. It should be noted that age and gender differences appear very important, since the relationship may only be valid for school-age and older males. The association between physical punishment and aggression may be valid in the more extreme or frequent cases; low physical punishment may serve to either increase or decrease the incidence of aggression, while most studies suggest that moderate physical punishment does not increase aggression. However, the literature's conclusions are greatly limited by significant methodological flaws, notably control for factors such as child abuse, parental substance abuse, and other parenting behaviors. (BHK)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: New Hampshire Univ., Durham. Family Research Lab.