Mother and Father Self-Reports of Corporal Punishment and Severe Physical Aggression Toward Clinic-Referred Youth
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Examined the extent to which 359 mothers and 140 fathers of clinic-referred youth (ages 2 to 17) reported using corporal punishment and severe physical aggression when asked directly via intake screening questionnaires at a community mental health center; higher prevalence rates emerged compared to families in the general population. Clinic-referred parents reported greater use of corporal punishment for younger relative to older youth, sons relative to daughters, and by single relative to married mothers. In cases with reports from both parents, mothers used corporal punishment more frequently than fathers. Demographic factors were not linked to severe physical aggression, except for mothers' treatment of sons versus daughters. After controlling for demographic factors, maternal and paternal reports of child externalizing behavior accounted for significant variance in their own and their partner's use of corporal punishment, and in mothers' use of severe physical aggression.
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