Department of Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, Austin, TX 78712-1088.
Does Conservative Protestantism Moderate the Association Between Corporal Punishment and Child Outcomes?
Article first published online: 28 SEP 2011
Copyright © National Council on Family Relations, 2011
Journal of Marriage and Family
Volume 73, Issue 5, pages 946–961, October 2011
How to Cite
Ellison, C. G., Musick, M. A. and Holden, G. W. (2011), Does Conservative Protestantism Moderate the Association Between Corporal Punishment and Child Outcomes?. Journal of Marriage and Family, 73: 946–961. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2011.00854.x
Department of Psychology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX 75275-0442.
- Issue published online: 28 SEP 2011
- Article first published online: 28 SEP 2011
- antisocial behavior;
- child discipline/guidance;
- early childhood;
- mother–child relations;
Using longitudinal data from a sample of 456 focal children in the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH), this study examined two research questions: (a) Does corporal punishment of young children (ages 2–4 at baseline) predict increases in levels of externalizing and internalizing problems over a 5-year study period? (b) Does the religion of the mother—specifically, her conservative Protestant affiliation and conservative beliefs about the Bible—moderate the estimated net effects of corporal punishment? Results revealed that early spanking alone was not associated with adjustment difficulties, but spanking that persisted into or began in middle childhood was associated with difficulties. In contrast to their counterparts from other (or no) religious backgrounds, children whose mothers belonged to conservative Protestant groups exhibited minimal adverse effects of corporal punishment. Several conclusions, limitations, and promising directions for future research are identified.