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Corporal Punishment in Rural Colombian Families: Prevalence, Family Structure and Socio-Demographic Variables

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 38 Issue: 5 Dated: May 2014 Pages: 909-916
Martha Rocío González; Angela Trujillo; Noemí Pereda
Date Published
May 2014
8 pages
Based on a sample of 620 parents of children between the ages of 5 and 8 years old, this study determined the prevalence of the use of corporal punishment (CP) in a rural area of Colombia and its correlates to family structure and other socio-demographic variables.
Forty-one percent of the parents used CP in disciplining their children. Family structure had a significant effect on the use of CP to discipline children. Traditional two-parent families used CP more than single mothers. The number of children living in the home was also a predictor of the use of CP. According to Straus (2010), when the number of children increases, parents have less time to monitor them and therefore may use corporal punishment as a quick strategy for controlling their children's behavior. In addition, a higher number of children were associated with economic and parental stress, which could lead to the use of CP. The ages of the children were also predictive of the use of CP, especially when the children were concluding their preschool phase. Another variable predictive of CP was the partner's age. Younger parents reported higher use of CP. The presence of a young male partner in the home was also related to the mother's increased use of CP. A survey on child-rearing was developed for this study. It included a question about CP that was developed from the Conflict Tactics Scale. Categories for family structure were nuclear family (two parents in the home); single-parent family; extended family; "simultaneous family" (both parents have children in the home from previous relationships); and "composed family" (two or more families living together without blood ties). Implications of the findings are discussed for the targeting of families for education to counter CP. 2 tables and 69 references