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14 January 2019

Corporal punishment by American parents: National data on prevalence, chronicity, severity, and duration, in relation to child and family characteristics

This research used a nationally representative sample of American parents to examine six types of corporal punishment (CP) to examine the prevalence of CP. The overall prevalence rate was 35% for infants and peaked at 94% at ages 3 and 4 and rapidly declined after age 5; although half of parents hit children at age 12, a third at age 14, and 13% at age 17. Severity, as measured by hitting the child with a belt or paddle, was most common for children aged 5-12 (28% ) and more prevalent among African American and low socioeconomic status parents, in the South, for boys, and used by mothers. The pervasiveness of CP reported in this study is concerning given the harmful side effects of CP shown by longitudinal research.