Associations between parenting style, physical discipline, and adjustment in adolescents' reports

Psychol Rep. 2013 Jun;112(3):933-75. doi: 10.2466/15.10.49.PR0.112.3.933-975.


Recollections of physical discipline as absent, age-delimited (ages 2-11), or present into adolescence were associated with youths' evaluations of their mothers' and fathers' parenting styles and their own adjustment. Data were from the Portraits of American Life Study-Youth (PALS-Y) a diverse, national sample of 13- to 18-year-olds (N = 158). The modal experience of youth with authoritative parents was age-delimited spanking; the modal experience of youth with permissive parents was no spanking; the modal experience of youth with authoritarian or disengaged parents was physical discipline into adolescence. The age-delimited group reported the best adjustment (less maladjustment than the adolescent group; greater competence than both other groups). The positive association between fathers' age-delimited spanking and youths' academic rank persisted even after accounting for parenting styles. The eschewing of spanking should not be listed as a distinguishing characteristic of authoritative parenting, which was more often associated with age-delimited spanking than with zero-usage.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Authoritarianism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Social Adjustment*