Impulsive Corporal Punishment by Mothers and Antisocial Behavior and Impulsiveness of Children

Family Research Laboratory, University of New Hampshire, Durham 03824, USA.
Behavioral Sciences & the Law (Impact Factor: 0.96). 02/1998; 16(3):353-74. DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0798(199822)16:33.0.CO;2-O
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This study tested the hypothesis that corporal punishment (CP), such as spanking or slapping a child for purposes of correcting misbehavior, is associated with antisocial behavior (ASB) and impulsiveness by the child. The data were obtained through interviews with a probability sample of 933 mothers of children age 2-14 in two small American cities. Analyses of variance found that the more CP experienced by the child, the greater the tendency for the child to engage in ASB and to act impulsively. These relationships hold even after controlling for family socioeconomic status, the age and sex of the child, nurturance by the mother, and the level of noncorporal interventions by the mother. There were also significant interaction effects of CP with impulsiveness by the mother. When CP was carried out impulsively, it was most strongly related to child impulsiveness and ASB; when CP was done when the mother was under control, the relationship to child behavior problems was reduced but still present. In view of the fact that there is a high risk of losing control when engaged in CP, even by parents who are not usually impulsive, and the fact that impulsive CP is so strongly associated with child behavior problems, the results of this study suggest that CP is an important risk factor for children developing a pattern of impulsive and antisocial behavior which, in turn, may contribute to the level of violence and other crime in society.

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    • "While corporal punishment (infliction of pain without lasting injury) has historically been widely accepted in society as a method of discipline (Socolar, Savage, & Evans, 2007), accumulating evidence suggests that the proximal (e.g., aggressiveness, sociopathy, lower quality parent-child relationships, decreased moral internalization, mental health issues, etc.) and distal (aggressiveness, criminality, sociopathy, mental health concerns, risk of abusing own spouse or child, etc.) effects of severe and recurrent corporal punishment can be equally pernicious (Gershoff, 2002; Gershoff & Bitensky, 2007). Corporal punishment will inevitably be viewed by at least a subset of children as angry, impulsive, and inconsistent acts, which could serve as a vicarious model of trait disinhibition (Straus & Mouradian, 1998). "
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    ABSTRACT: This chapter provides a summary of empirical evidence linking childhood maltreatment and trait impulsivity. While biological contributors to impulsivity may be substantial, this review speculates that childhood and adolescent contributors may potentially alter the developmental trajectory of this personality trait in important ways. An analysis of original data (N = 401) regarding child maltreatment associations (childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, sibling abuse, peer bullying, corporal punishment, and exposure to domestic violence) with trait impulsivity as measured by the Personality Inventory for the DSM-5 was also conducted. Adult respondents were assigned to extreme child abuse categories based on their retrospective self-reports. Co-occurrence rates for the various forms of maltreatment were modest (around 10%). While childhood sexual abuse was more closely associated with adult impulsivity among the men than the women, gender differences in these maltreatment relationships were otherwise minimal. Extreme childhood sexual abuse was a significant predictor of trait impulsivity and all other facets of the PID-5 Disinhibition domain (ds ranging from .52 to .80). Adult impulsivity was predicted by both childhood physical abuse (ds ranging from .23 to .28) and exposure to domestic violence during childhood (ds ranging from .21 to .32). The relative risk of adult respondents showing an elevation (> 1.5 SDs) in trait Impulsivity was raised substantially by childhood histories of extreme sexual abuse (RR = 8.68), physical abuse (RR = 3.31), or exposure to parental domestic violence (RR = 4.08). Higher order interactions between these various forms of childhood maltreatment and Impulsivity were not found. The developmental psychopathology implications of these findings are discussed along with suggested directions for future research.
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    • "Disciplinary style indicators. The Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scales (Straus et al., 1998) assesses nonaggressive and aggressive behaviors directed toward the child. Table 1 presents all 14 items that were analyzed in the LCA model. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study assesses fathers??? discipline of their 3-year-old child. Data are from 1,238 mother and father participants in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Latent class analysis (LCA) of nonaggressive and aggressive behaviors, as reported by mothers, indicated four distinct paternal disciplinary profiles: low discipline, low aggression, moderate physical aggression, and high physical and psychological aggression. Serious forms of psychological aggression directed toward the child were uncommon but may identify those fathers most in need of intervention. Use of nonaggressive discipline was high and nearly equivalent among the parenting profiles. However, child aggressive behavior increased as the child???s exposure to paternal aggression increased, even when aggressive discipline was combined with high levels of nonaggressive discipline. Fathers who exhibited more aggression toward their child had higher levels of alcohol use, used more psychological aggression toward the child???s mother, and were more likely to spank their child.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2010 · Child Maltreatment
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    • "To address this question, we chose to examine a severe (Straus et al., 1998) and less acceptable form of CP, but to keep it as distinct as possible from physical abuse. American Academy of Pediatrics (2000) defines corporal punishment as the striking of a child with an open hand on the buttocks or extremities with the intention of modifying behavior without causing physical injury, as an acceptable but less effective strategy than time-out or removal of privileges for reducing undesired behavior. "
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    ABSTRACT: Harsh corporal punishment (HCP) was defined as frequent parental administration of corporal punishment (CP) for discipline, with occasional use of objects such as straps, or paddles. CP is linked to increased risk for depression and substance abuse. We examine whether long-term exposure to HCP acts as sub-traumatic stressor that contributes to brain alterations, particularly in dopaminergic pathways, which may mediate their increased vulnerability to drug and alcohol abuse. Nineteen young adults who experienced early HCP but no other forms of maltreatment and twenty-three comparable controls were studied. T2 relaxation time (T2-RT) measurements were performed with an echo planar imaging TE stepping technique and T2 maps were calculated and analyzed voxel-by-voxel to locate regional T2-RT differences between groups. Previous studies indicated that T2-RT provides an indirect index of resting cerebral blood volume. Region of interest (ROI) analyses were also conducted in caudate, putamen, nucleus accumbens, anterior cingulate cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, thalamus, globus pallidus and cerebellar hemispheres. Voxel-based relaxometry showed that HCP was associated with increased T2-RT in right caudate and putamen. ROI analyses also revealed increased T2-RT in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, substantia nigra, thalamus and accumbens but not globus pallidus or cerebellum. There were significant associations between T2-RT measures in dopamine target regions and use of drugs and alcohol, and memory performance. Alteration in the paramagnetic or hemodynamic properties of dopaminergic cell body and projection regions were observed in subjects with HCP, and these findings may relate to their increased risk for drug and alcohol abuse.
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