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The Spanking Project

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 11 months ago

The Spanking Project


The Spanking Project, led by Dr. Rick Frei, is a student-driven interdisciplinary research initiative aimed at developing a better understanding of people's attitudes towards spanking and corporal punishment.


The project began in 2008 as part of an Applied Psychology course project at the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP). Students conducted focus groups throughout the City of Philadelphia to gain a better understanding of spanking, people's attitudes towards and experiences with corporal punishment.


From these focus groups, we concluded that:


a) People differ greatly on whether they view corporal punishment as effective and appropriate for children.

b) People differ greatly on whether the consequences of using corporal punishment on a child are generally positive or negative.

c) Variables such as age, race, sex, and parental status, as well as other life events, influenced these attitudes.

d) People's history and background: whether the use of corporal punishment for them would affect them as parents raising their children.


We developed a hypotheses regarding attitudes about the appropriateness of corporal punishment, as well as possible consequences and correlates of corporal punishment. We also asked students what types of corporal punishemnt they were exposed to growing up and who had permision to use these punishments on them.


The students developed a survey to test their hypotheses, which they adminsitered to nearly 600 Community College students. Corporal Punishment Survey


Spanking and Laws


1) Gershoff, E.T., Bitesnsky, S.H. (2007) THE CASE AGAINST CORPORAL PUNISHMENT OF CHILDREN: Converging Evidence From Social Science Research and international Human Rights Law and implication for U.S. Public Policy. Psychology, Public Policy, & Law. Vol13 (4) pp. 231-272.


This article covers many summaries of research results of law, status, and effects of corporal punishment on children.


Link: http://ovidsp.tx.ovid.com/spa/ovidweb.cgi keyword: "corporal punishment" (link can be accessed from CCP library's Indexes/Databases webpage)


2) Link: www.familyrightsassociation.com/info/spanking_laws.htm


This site lists the laws for all Fifty States.


3) Link: http://childadvocate.org/1a_laws.htm


This site contains many eye-opening facts about laws on corporal punishment of children, a large list of resources and links, support and much more.


4) Link: www.truveo.com/parents-say-no-to-laws-against-spanking


This site will take you to two video clips of TV News reports. Reports discuss how parents feel about banning spanking of children.


5) Link: http://www.endcorporalpunishment.org/pages/progress/reports/usa.html


Another description of where we are so far with the legal status of corporal punishment.


6) Link: http://thomas.loc.gov/

Title: THOMAS Law Library (Library of Congress)

Specific bills and other legislation in current or former Congress pertaining to corporal punishment -- whether it deals with the topic in the home, in the military, or in prison systems -- can be searched.


7) Link: http://www.endcorporalpunishment.org/pages/progress/prohib_states.html


This is a list that details the nations who have already outlawed the corporal punishment of children.



Cultural Attitudes Towards Spanking

On the Spanking Survey, students were asked their race and whether or not they considered themselves religious. The following links to websites, news articles and psychology journals explores some of the connections between ethnicity and/or religion and an individuals attitudes towards corporal punishment.



World Corporal Punishment Research

CORPUN is an independent, non-profit site intended to provide unbiased, fact based information on corporal punishment throughout the world. The research here presents the CP practices of multiple cultures within the following categories: Educational, Judicial, Institutional, Military, Parental/Domestic, and Illicit. The Archive section is composed of over 4,000 articles, reports and tv/radio transcripts spanning the 17th century to the present. The Archive is divided into time periods and specific years, and then organized by country.


CP Laws Around the World

Official Laws and Regulations for the administration of corporal punishment for each country.


Support for Corporal Punishment in the Schools: A Comparison of the Effects of Socioeconomic Status and Religion

This article from Social Science Quarterly presents survey data indicating that individuals affiliated with fundamentalist Protestant denominations are more supportive than others of corporal punishment in the schools.


Faith, Culture are Factors in Paddling: Experts: Conservatives, Minorities are More Likely to Support It

Article from Dallas Morning News exploring different reasons why Texas parents would support the use of corporal punishment in schools. Minorities, such as hispanics and blacks, and whites with strong fundamentalist beliefs represent a majority of this culture that embraces the Bible Belt philosophy against sparing the rod.


Who Decides What's Right?

Focuses on the issue of corporal punishment in Canada. How children whose family belong to the Church of God congregation in Aylmer, Ontario were taken away from their parents, due to the church's acceptance of such punishment; Details of the church and its laws; Conflict between religious beliefs and Canadian laws.


The Role of Parental Religious Fundamentalism and Right-Wing Authoritarianism in Child-Rearing Goals and Practices

Two studies assessed how people's religious orientation and their endorsement of right-wing authoritarian attitudes are linked to the kinds of goals they establish for their children, and their approval of corporal punishment.


The Koran and the Cane - Senegal

This YOUTUBE clip focuses on Sengalese children who attend an Islamic school. Their days consist of Koranic studies and begging in the name of Allah. The children are whipped if they are tired or are not concentrating on their readings. The film segment has less to do with Muslim views on corporal punishment but more to do with commenting on the extreme poverty and living conditions of the Sengalese.



Some Minority Cultural Practices Qualify as Child Abuse

Different cultures have differing definitions of child abuse, although some disciplinary practices may legally qualify as child abuse.

Campbell, Eleanor T. Some Minority Cultural Practices Qualify as Child Abuse. Child Abuse.Ed. Lucinda Almond. Current Controversies Series. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2006.
Online source: Campbell, Eleanor T. "Some Minority Cultural Practices Qualify as Child Abuse." Child Abuse. Ed. Lucinda Almond. Current Controversies Series. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2006. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Community College Of Philadelphia. 24 Feb. 2009


Disciplinary Spanking Is Not Child Abuse

This article opposes the criminalization of corporal punishment and questions research against it and the people who condemn parents who spank.

Chigbo, Okey. Disciplinary Spanking Is Not Child Abuse.Opposing Viewpoints: Child Abuse. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004.
Online source: Chigbo, Okey. "Disciplinary Spanking Is Not Child Abuse." Opposing Viewpoints: Child Abuse. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Community College Of Philadelphia. 24 Feb. 2009


Explaining Corporal Punishment of Children: A Cross Cultural study (pdf)



Ember, Carol R., & Ember, Melvin (2005). Explaining corporal punishment of children: A cross cultural study. American Anthropologist. 107, issue 4, 609-619.


This is an analysis of how and why we use corporal punishment; comes with statistical tables on how to predict it.

Islamic Law Promotes Human Rights
This article dispells myths about Islam and corporal punishment.
Opposing Viewpoints: Human Rights. Ed. Jacqueline Langwith. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2008.
Online source: Safi, Louay M. "Islamic Law Promotes Human Rights." Opposing Viewpoints: Human Rights. Ed. Jacqueline Langwith. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2008. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Community College Of Philadelphia. 24 Feb. 2009

Also see citation #3 under laws



  • Support for Corporal Punishment in the Schools:A Comparison of the Effects of Socioeconomic Status and Religion

Harold Gasmick, Carolyn Morgan, Mary Kennedy Social Science Quarterly March 1992 Vol. 73 Issue 1 p.177-187


  • Faith, Culture are Factors in Paddling: Experts:Conservatives, Minorities are More Likely To Support It

Goolsby, Kathy The Dallas Morning News August 22, 2006


  • Who Decides What's Right?

Chisholm, Patricia Maclean's September 10, 2001 Vol. 114 Issue 37 p.18


  • The Role of Parental Religious Fundamentalism and Right-Wing Authoritarianism in Child-Rearing Goals and Practices

Danso, Henry; Hunsberger, Bruce; Pratt, Michael Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion December 1997 Vol. 36 Issue 4 p.496-511


  • Corporal Punishment In Schools:The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that corporal punishment in schools be abolished
    COMMITTEE ON SCHOOL HEALTH,1999-2000. Howard L. Taras,MD,chairperson




Corporal punishment in schools is still legal in 21 states and used frequently in 13. These 13 states which use corporal punishment most frequently are Missouri, Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississipi, Alabama, Georgia, Souh Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida, according to data recieved from the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. U.S. Education Department find that school personnel of the 2006-07 school year reported disciplining 223,190 students by hitting, spanking or other means.



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CNN Article on Corporal Punishment in Schools


USA Today Article on Corporal Punishment Statistics


Video on Corporal Punishment in School


Below is a community forum people express their opinions on corporal punishment:



Also see citations #2 & #3 under laws


Greydanus, Donald E. M.D., Pratt,Ellen D. Ph.D., et al.(2003).Corporal Punishment in Schools: Position Paper of the Society for Adolescent Medicine. Journal of Adolescent Health. Vol. 32, no. 5 pp. 385-393.


http://www.adolescenthealth.org/PositionPaper_Corporal_Punishment_in_Schools.pdf (pdf file) -This article by the Society for Adolescent Medicine on Corporal Punishments in school gives a historical background of the topic, laws regarding corporal punishment, and how often and where it occurs in the U.S. The article makes its case against corporal punishment and offers alternatives.



Maurer, Adah Ph.D., Wallerstein, James S. (1987). The Natural Child Project: Influence of Corporal Punishment on Crime.



http://naturalchild.org/research/corporal_punishment.htmlYoutube Videos in regards to Corporal PunishmentThe Effectiveness of SpankingLink:http://ovidsp.tx.ovid.com/spa/ovidweb.cgi?&S=JIBPFPAJHIDDNFPFNCGLPDJLKHHCAA00&Link+set=S.sh.35%7c2%7cs1_10 Familial Violence Socialization in Childhood and Later Life Approval of Corporal Punishment: A Cross Cultural Perspective This journal article explores multiple factors realted to corporal punishment. Some of these factors are effectiveness, approval of corporal punishment later on in life, religious affiliation, cultural upbringings, sex and the approval rate of corporal punishment over the years. Title: Parental Coporal Punishment Predicts Behavior Problems in Early Childhood Alternatives to SpankingLink:http://listserv.ccp.edu:2054/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre1996102500&type=hitlist&num=17

This project gives a history of flogging as a punishment for criminals in the U.S. but is used today only on children. This project is a study of prisoners, school drop-outs, juvenile delinquents etc. and a link between physical punishments to societal outcomes.





After he claims God told him to, a New Kensington man started a web site to provide parents with paddles and directions on how to spank their children.


Corporal punishment in Superboy comics


How Spanking Feels: Images and Words from Children


Life in 1960 vs 2008


Popular TV show Desperate Housewives: A lesson in spanking





According to several sources corporal punishment is ineffective in deterring misbehavior in children, or in promoting desirable behaviors in children, and prolonged used has many adverse effects. Using corporal punishment will temporarily stop the problem behavior, and may be effective if it is used mildly and in an “atmosphere of warmth, reasoning, and acceptance,” which is often times not the case (Robinson). However, corporal punishment is linked to future adverse behaviors (aggression, bullying, as well as anti-social behavior) in those exposed to it on a long-term basis as children. Most of the psychological research done on corporal punishment is co-relational, which can only prove that there is a relationship between corporal punishment and misbehavior. The causality of the relationship is still debated. However, evidence does not appear to demonstrate any positive outcomes of the use of corporal punishment, mainly negative. Most importantly, corporal punishment does not appear to socialize children in a positive way and it legitimizes the use of violence as a problem-solving tool.




According to research corporal punishment is effective for the moment but it leads to abnormal behavior and some cases even substance abuse.





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MediaMouse.org interview Susan Bitensky, a Michigan State University law professor who has written on corporal punishment. Bitensky discusses the effectiveness of corporal punishment, changing attitudes about corporal punishment, as well as the adverse effects of corporal punishment.







Link: http://ovidsp.tx.ovid.com/spa/ovidweb.cgi?WebLinkFrameset=1&S=JIBPFPAJHIDDNFPFNCGLPDJLKHHCAA00&returnUrl=http%3a%2f%2fovidsp.tx.ovid.com%2fspa%2fovidweb.cgi%3f%26Full%2bText%3dL%257cS.sh.35.37%257c0%257c00000454-200601000-00005%26S%3dJIBPFPAJHIDDNFPFNCGLPDJLKHHCAA00&directlink=http%3a%2f%2fgraphics.tx.ovid.com%2fovftpdfs%2fFPDDNCJLPDPFHI00%2ffs046%2fovft%2flive%2fgv023%2f00000454%2f00000454-200601000-00005.pdf&filename=Familial+Violence+Socialization+in+Childhood+and+Later+Life+Approval+of+Corporal+Punishment%3a+A+Cross-Cultural+Perspective


This article from the Journal of Family Psychology discusses the negative effects of corporal punishment. This article also discusses the negative outcomes on children associated with corporal punishment.


Bibliography of Articles:


Douglas, Emily M. PhD, January 2006, Familial Violence Socilization in Childhood and Later Life Approval of Corporal Punishment: A Cross-Cultural Perspective, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Volume 76, pg 23-30


Mulvaney, Matthew K. & Mebert, Carolyn J., September 2007, Parental Corporal Punishment Predicts Behavior Problems in Early Childhood, Journal of Family Psychology, Volume 21, pg 389-397


Robinson, Brenlee (2001, January). The effects of Corporal Punishment. CYC-Online: Reading for child and youth care workers, Issue 24, Retrieved February 26, 2009, from http://www.cyc-net.org/cyc-online/cycol-0101-corporal.html


Robinson, Daniel H., Funk, Daniel C., Beth, Alicia, & Bush, Angela M. (2005). Changing beliefs about corporal punishment: increasing knowledge about ineffectiveness and informational beliefs. Journal of Behavioral Education, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 117-139.


Gershoff, Elizabeth T., & Bitensky, Susan H. (2007). The case against corporal punishment of children: converging evidence from social science research and international human rights law and implications for U.S. policy. American Psychological Association. Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 231-272.




  • Encourage your child to tell you what's bothering them.


  • Redirect their behavior; show them a way to express themselves without misbehaving.


  • Change their environment, if your child keeps pulling on the tablecloth and knocking things over consider removing the tablecloth.


  • Lower your expectations of your child, this is their life not a carbon copy of yours.


There are other alternatives that parents or guardians can utilize besides spanking. Below are some websites that offer alternatives to spanking.









Title: Parental RightsThis introduces how much control a parent should have over their child. It explains how disciplining the child (spanking) will sometimes cause the child to participate in sexual behaviors without their parents even knowing. Link:http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pbh&AN=34758075&site=ehost-live">http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pbh&AN=34758075&site=ehost-live Title: Corporal Punishment in U.S. Public Schools: A Continuing Challenge for School Social Workers. This journal article discusses the role of Social Workers in schools in regards to corporal punishment. Strongly suggests that Social Workers should push for alternatives to corporal punishment due to the negative psychological effects of corporal punishment in schools on students. Dupper, David R., & Montgomery Dingus, Amy E. (2008). Corporal punishment in U.S. public schools: a continuing challenge for school social workers. Children & Schools. Volume 30, Issue 4, p243-250. Link:http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pbh&AN=23294945&site=ehost-live">http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pbh&AN=23294945&site=ehost-liveTitle: Managing School Discipline and Implications for School Social Workers: A Review of the Literature. This journal article discusses the need for more research on the effects of discipline (including corporal punishment) in schools, so that social workers and others involved in child care can better indentify punishments that may cause serious distress to students and therefore get involved to protect the mental health of the student. Cameron, Mark (2006).Managing school discipline and implications for school social workers: a review of the literature. Children & Schools.




Title: To Discipline Kids, Follow Simple Rules.

This article but USA Today Magazine explains six alternative ways to discipline your child without resorting to corporal punishment.




Corporal Punishment and Violent behaviorStraus, Murray A. (1996). Spanking and the Making of a Violent Society.PEDIATRICS, Vol.98, No.4, 837-842LINK:\"Spanking and the Making of a Violent Society .pdf\"Straus, Murray A. and Mouradian, Vera E. (1998). Impulsive Corporal Punishment by Mothers and the Antisocial Behavior and Impulsiveness of Children. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, Vol 16, 353-374Link: \"Impulsive Corporal Punishment by Mothers and the Antisocial Behavior and Impulsiveness of Children .PDF\"

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This study shows that there is a distinct relation to spanking and societal violence, but that it is not the entire reason for violence in the

subjects. It is one of the many deciding risk factors that go into the probability of societal violence. Whether these associations were

merely due to the children being prone to violence before-hand, or if it was a direct factor in them being violent, is undetermined in the

study. Study appears to be biased towards corporal punishment equating to violent behavior.





Tests the hypothesis that corporal punishment is associated with anti-social behavior and impulsiveness by the child. Shows that if a

mother uses corporal punishment impulsively, then the child will develop impulsive tendencies in their social behavior. Relates that if

impulsiveness and anti-social behavior is developed, it could cause an increase in violent behavior.

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