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22-05-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 7/2019

Journal of Child and Family Studies 7/2019

Corporal Punishment: Current Rates from a National Survey

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 7/2019
David Finkelhor, Heather Turner, Brittany Kaye Wormuth, Jennifer Vanderminden, Sherry Hamby
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To assess the prevalence of corporal punishment usage in the US population.


This study was based on a 2014 cross-sectional, telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of US households with children. Reports about spanking of 0–9 year olds were obtained from parents, while reports about 10–17 year olds were obtained from the youth themselves.


The survey suggested that a majority of children in the US were not subject to corporal punishment in 2014. The rate was 49% in the past year for children ages 0–9, 23% for youth 10–17 and 37% overall. Rates of spanking were lower for girls compared to boys, Northeasterners compared to Southerners, and whites compared to blacks. They were also lower among those with a graduate education, and families with fewer than 3 children. The proportion of children subject to corporal punishment had declined by 2014 compared to other national surveys conducted in 1975 and 1985. This is in line with other studies showing declines of 26–40% in the spanking of kindergarden age children from 1988 to 2011.


The trends suggest a continuing reduction of spanking in the population. Because of growing research and advocacy about this practice both nationally and internationally, it may be that awareness is having some impact and it will continue to decline.

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