Objective: This study was undertaken to reveal the prevalence of corporal punishment in Alexandria and its' correlates with family background and child's behavior and characteristics.
Methods: A cross sectional survey targeting preparatory and secondary school children was conducted. The multistage random sample technique was adopted to select a representative sample of this population. Subjects were requested to complete a self-administered questionnaire to collect relevant information. Data were analyzed using the univariate and multivariate analyses.
Results: This study revealed that more than one-third (37.47%) of children were disciplined physically in the form of beating and a few were also burned or tied. In 25.83% of them, this harsh discipline led to physical injuries of variable degrees of severity amounting to fractures, loss of consciousness, and permanent disability. Predictive family background for the use of corporal punishment were: living in an apartment shared with strangers; high crowding index; constant fights and quarrels between family members; lack of regular relation with relatives and acquaintance as well as an income insufficient to meet the family basic needs. Predictive child's characteristics and behavior included young age; disobedience; telling lies; destroying others' belongings; acting disrespectfully to parents; communicating poorly with their parents; running away from home; and poor school achievement, in addition to other determinants.
Conclusion: A proportion of children are subjected to extreme physical brutality amounting to abuse in a disciplinary context. Parents' education and the establishment of effective parent-child communication are deemed essential to combat this phenomenon.