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, 76 (6), 1234-46

Physical Discipline and Children's Adjustment: Cultural Normativeness as a Moderator

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Physical Discipline and Children's Adjustment: Cultural Normativeness as a Moderator

Jennifer E Lansford et al. Child Dev.

Abstract

Interviews were conducted with 336 mother-child dyads (children's ages ranged from 6 to 17 years; mothers' ages ranged from 20 to 59 years) in China, India, Italy, Kenya, the Philippines, and Thailand to examine whether normativeness of physical discipline moderates the link between mothers' use of physical discipline and children's adjustment. Multilevel regression analyses revealed that physical discipline was less strongly associated with adverse child outcomes in conditions of greater perceived normativeness, but physical discipline was also associated with more adverse outcomes regardless of its perceived normativeness. Countries with the lowest use of physical discipline showed the strongest association between mothers' use and children's behavior problems, but in all countries higher use of physical discipline was associated with more aggression and anxiety.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Hypothesized moderating role of normativeness of discipline strategy. We expect normativeness to moderate the link between parents' use of a discipline strategy and children's adjustment because normativeness might affect children's cognitive and emotional appraisals of whether the discipline strategy is fair and just or whether it conveys parental rejection.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Mean differences among countries in mothers' reports of their own use of physical discipline. For Thailand, China, the Philippines, Italy, India, and Kenya, the 95% confidence intervals for the means were 1.14, 1.48; 1.32, 1.69; 1.53, 1.90; 1.77, 2.08; 1.81, 2.24; and 1.98, 2.42, respectively.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Mean differences among countries in mothers' reports of other parents' use of physical discipline. For Thailand, China, the Philippines, Italy, India, and Kenya, the 95% confidence intervals for the means were 1.48, 1.94; 1.26,1.74; 2.25, 2.73; 2.54, 2.94; 1.96, 2.52; and 2.29, 2.86, respectively.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Mean differences among countries in children's reports of other parents' use of physical discipline. For Thailand, China, the Philippines, Italy, India, and Kenya, the 95% confidence intervals for the means were 1.15, 1.54; 1.42, 1.85; 1.40, 1.83; 2.53, 2.89; 1.76, 2.25; and 2.34, 2.85, respectively.
Figure 5
Figure 5
Significant interactions indicating the moderating role of mothers' and children's perceptions of normativeness in the link between mothers' use of physical discipline and children's adjustment. “High” and “low” reflect the use of physical discipline at values +1 and −1 SD from the mean, calculated across the entire sample.
Figure 6
Figure 6
Significant interactions indicating the moderating role of actual normativeness in the link between mothers' use of physical discipline and children's adjustment. “High” and “low” reflect the use of physical discipline at values +1 and −1 SD from the mean, calculated across the entire sample. Numbers in parentheses after the country name indicate the rank order of the country in the normativeness of physical discipline as indicated by the average of mothers' reports within a country of how frequently they use physical discipline (with 1 being the least normative and 6 being the most normative).

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