The discipline survey: a new measure of parental discipline

Ambul Pediatr. Mar-Apr 2004;4(2):166-73. doi: 10.1367/A03-071R1.1.


Objectives: To develop a new measure of parental discipline of children encompassing a broad array of types of discipline and modes of administration.

Methods: Parents of 12- to 19-month-old children were interviewed using a new 45-item structured survey about discipline in general pediatric clinics in North Carolina and Alabama. Demographic data describing the population studied were linked from another study in which these families were participating. Principal component analysis and confirmatory reliability analysis were used to define subscales and determine which items were retained in the survey.

Results: One hundred eighty-two parents were interviewed about disciplinary practices. Disciplinary subscales were robust for a number of disciplinary types (monitoring, verbal communication, modeling behavior, corporal punishment, and ignoring) and modes of administration (follow-through, consistency, positive demeanor, negative demeanor).

Conclusions: The Discipline Survey is a promising new measure of parental discipline. A survey instrument to assess disciplinary practices like the one developed fills a gap and can enhance research methodology for those interested in the effects of interventions on parental discipline.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child Behavior / ethnology
  • Child Behavior / psychology
  • Child Rearing / ethnology
  • Child Rearing / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parenting / ethnology
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Psychometrics
  • Punishment*
  • Reward*