Date of Award

Summer 2005

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Committee Director

Michelle Kelley

Committee Member

Jennifer Morrow

Committee Member

Louis Janda

Abstract

Previous research has documented the numerous negative effects associated with corporal punishment (Gershoff, 2002). The present study examined whether experiencing corporal punishment as a child is related to one's perception of the legitimacy of corporal punishment, race, the nature of the parent-child relationship (i.e., biological parent versus step-parent), and psychological well-being. Compared to college students who did not experience corporal punishment during childhood, college students who experienced higher levels of corporal punishment are expected to report that corporal punishment is a more acceptable form of discipline. College students who grew up with a stepfather were expected to be more likely to report having received corporal punishment as a disciplinary technique during childhood than were biological parents. African-American college students were expected to report higher levels of corporal punishment than were European-American college students. An interaction was expected such that European-American students who reported high levels of corporal punishment would report more depressive symptoms and psychological adjustment difficulties than would European-American students who experienced lower levels of corporal punishment during childhood or African-American college students who reported higher or lower levels of corporal punishment. College students who received corporal punishment as children believed that corporal punishment was a more acceptable form of punishment than college students who were not spanked as children. Results of the other hypotheses were not significant. That is, after controlling for paternal education and family income, African-American college students were not more likely to report having received corporal punishment as children. In addition, individuals who lived with their biological mothers and a stepfather during the majority of childhood were not more likely to have received corporal punishment. Finally, experiencing corporal punishment as a child was not a significant predictor of psychological well-being for college students.

DOI

10.25777/he7n-f819

ISBN

9780542358883

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