"Virtually all previous studies have relied on verbal reports, either asking parents how often they spank, and a few asking children how they felt about being spanked," he said. "This study is not affected or biased by memory or attitudes or orientations toward discipline because it's what's happening in the home."
The research, "Investigating Actual Incidents of Spanking in the Home," was presented June 3-4 at the international conference "Global Summit on Ending Corporal Punishment and Promoting Positive Discipline" in Dallas.
Holden, a professor in SMU's Department of Psychology, was a conference organizer and is an advocate of positive alternatives to spanking as cited in his psychology textbook "Parenting: A Dynamic Perspective" (Sage Publications Inc., 2010). Watch a video about the research at www.smuresearch.com.
Chaotic interactions indicate parents didn't alter practices
Participants in the study included families of various ethnicities, ranging from affluent to middle income to poor, said Paul Williamson, a researcher on the study. Acts of corporal punishment also varied, from spanking with a belt to admonishing children while hitting, said Williamson, an SMU psychology doctoral student.
"One interaction in particular, a child of 2 or 3 years of age had either been hitting or kicking her mother, and in response the mother either spanks the child or slaps the child on the hand and says, 'That'll teach you not to hit your mother,'" Williamson said. "We've captured interactions with families that are very chaotic. Some of them are actually quite difficult to listen to. That tells us, at least for some families, they're not inhibiting or suppressing the
|Contact: Margaret Allen|
Southern Methodist University