197696 Normative beliefs, expectations, and use of corporal punishment: Findings from an RDD community survey

Monday, November 9, 2009: 3:10 PM

Catherine A. Taylor, PhD , Department of Community Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Lauren Hamvas, MPH , Department of Community Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Janet C. Rice, PhD , Department of Biostatistics, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
William DeJong, PhD , Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
INTRODUCTION: Corporal punishment (CP) is a highly prevalent and strong risk factor for child maltreatment and increases risk for poor child outcomes and aggression. Approval of CP is a strong predictor of CP use; U.S. approval ratings of CP are highest in the South (80%). This study examined associations between parents' perceived norms and their own attitudes toward CP, expected outcomes of CP, and their use of CP.

METHODS: A random digit dial survey was conducted among adults in a Southern city who had at least one child in their household (n=500). All predictors (parents' attitudes toward CP, perceived norms regarding CP, and expected outcomes of using CP) were assessed using a Likert-type scale. CP use was coded as a binary outcome. Logistic regressions were conducted controlling for child age. Potential covariates also were assessed.

RESULTS: Positive attitudes towards CP increased the odds of using CP (OR=4.5 [95%CI=3.4-6.1]). Perceived norms and expected outcomes of CP were all highly correlated with parents' attitudes toward CP (range 0.47-0.67). Perceived norms that family/friends or professionals favored CP were associated with higher odds of CP use (2.5[1.9-31] and 2.9[2.2-3.8], respectively). Expectation of positive outcomes and not expecting negatives outcomes also were associated with CP use (2.5[2.0-3.3] and 1.8[1.5-2.3], respectively). Almost one-third used CP; reports peaked when the child was age 3 (48%).

DISCUSSION: Findings will inform the development of a multi-level intervention designed to change actual and perceived normative beliefs regarding CP in order to reduce rates of CP and risk for child maltreatment.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe factors associated with parentsí attitudes towards corporal punishment 2. Describe factors associated with parentsí use of corporal punishment 3. Consider possible intervention targets to reduce rates of corporal punishment and child maltreatment

Keywords: Violence Prevention, Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a PhD in public health in community health sciences and also an MSW and MPH. I am the PI of 2 grants that have funded this research and have written numerous articles and a dissertation related to this topic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.