This study examined whether the longitudinal links between mothers' use of spanking and children's externalizing behaviors are moderated by family race/ethnicity, as would be predicted by cultural normativeness theory, once mean differences in frequency of use are controlled. A nationally representative sample of White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian American families (n = 11,044) was used to test a cross-lagged path model from 5 to 8 years old. While race/ethnic differences were observed in the frequency of spanking, no differences were found in the associations of spanking and externalizing over time: Early spanking predicted increases in children's externalizing while early child externalizing elicited more spanking over time across all race/ethnic groups.
© 2011 The Authors. Child Development © 2011 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.