Correlates and Consequences of Spanking and Verbal Punishment for Low-Income White, African American, and Mexican American Toddlers

Child Dev. Sep-Oct 2009;80(5):1403-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01341.x.

Abstract

This study examined the prevalence, predictors, and outcomes of spanking and verbal punishment in 2,573 low-income White, African American, and Mexican American toddlers at ages 1, 2, and 3. Both spanking and verbal punishment varied by maternal race/ethnicity. Child fussiness at age 1 predicted spanking and verbal punishment at all 3 ages. Cross-lagged path analyses indicated that spanking (but not verbal punishment) at age 1 predicted child aggressive behavior problems at age 2 and lower Bayley mental development scores at age 3. Neither child aggressive behavior problems nor Bayley scores predicted later spanking or verbal punishment. In some instances, maternal race/ethnicity and/or emotional responsiveness moderated the effects of spanking and verbal punishment on child outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • African Americans / psychology
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Age Factors
  • Aggression
  • Child Behavior / ethnology
  • Child Behavior / psychology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / ethnology
  • Child Development
  • Child Rearing / ethnology*
  • Child Rearing / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior / ethnology
  • Mexican Americans / psychology
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Mother-Child Relations / ethnology*
  • Poverty / ethnology
  • Poverty / psychology
  • Punishment / psychology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States