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Research Explores Racial Differences In Corporal Punishment

 

ANN ARBOR, MI - Biological fathers are more likely to spank their children when they are unable to cope with stress from parenting or they use abuse alcohol and drugs, a new study indicates.

The study also finds that fathers used corporal punishment — which involves physical force to a child to correct a behavior — more often on boys than girls.

The research, which appears in the current issue of Journal of Interpersonal Violence, is among the first studies to shed light on paternal stress, drug/alcohol use and corporal punishment, while accounting for the father’s mental health and involvement with the child.

Brian Perron, an assistant professor of social work, collaborated on the research with Shawna Lee, assistant professor at Wayne State University and the study’s lead author; Catherine Taylor, an assistant professor at Tulane University; and Neil Guterman, a professor at the University of Chicago.

The study uses data from 2,309 biological fathers from 20 cities nationwide with populations that exceed 200,000 people; the children were 3 years old.

When asked about the frequency during the last 30 days of disciplining their child, overall, 61 percent of the fathers reported no corporal punishment, 23 percent indicated moderate corporal punishment and 16 percent was considered heavy.

Among the other findings:

• Younger fathers were more likely to engage in heavy corporal punishment than older fathers.

• Cohabiting fathers and fathers who were not married or living with the child’s mother were less likely to report spanking than married fathers.

• Children who were more aggressive, as reported by their mothers, were more likely to be spanked by their fathers.  

Stress, depression and drug use also were associated with fathers using corporal punishment. These men were more likely to indicate they spank their children often, the study indicates.

Regarding alcohol consumption, drinking heavily in one day — which is considering having at least four drinks — was associated with both moderate and heavy corporal punishment.

Researchers also analyzed how race played a role in the fathers’ behaviors. Although African-American fathers significantly were more likely than white fathers to engage in moderate corporal punishment, they were not more likely than white fathers to use heavy corporal punishment.

In contrast, Hispanic fathers were significantly less likely to engage heavy corporal punishment than white fathers. Researchers said this finding is important given the limited research available on Hispanic fathers and their parenting practices.

The findings are consistent with other studies that focus on mothers. For example, prior research with mothers has shown that parenting stress increases risk for spanking, Lee says.


STORY TAGS: BLACK NEWS, AFRICAN AMERICAN NEWS, MINORITY NEWS, CIVIL RIGHTS NEWS, DISCRIMINATION, RACISM, RACIAL EQUALITY, BIAS, EQUALITY, AFRO AMERICAN NEWS, HISPANIC NEWS, LATINO NEWS, MEXICAN NEWS, MINORITY NEWS, CIVIL RIGHTS, DISCRIMINATION, RACISM, DIVERSITY, LATINA, RACIAL EQUALITY, BIAS, EQUALITY



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