Title

Physical Punishment and Child Externalizing Behavior: Comparing American Indian, White, and African American Children

Keywords

Native American, parenting, physical discipline, corporal punishment, spanking, Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study

Abstract

This study examined if, compared to White and African American children, maternal spanking of American Indian children was associated with child externalizing behavior problems. Using a community-based sample of 3,632 children (1,183 White, 2,183 African American, 266 American Indian), multiple-group autoregressive cross-lagged models examined the associations between maternal spanking and child externalizing behavior across the first 5 years of life. Rates of spanking for American Indian and White children were similar at all three time points (age 1, age 3, and age 5). When comparing White and American Indian groups, maternal spanking at age 1 predicted child externalizing behavior at age 3 (White: β = .10, p < .001; American Indian: β = .08, p < .01), and maternal spanking at age 3 predicted child externalizing behavior at age 5 (White: β = .09, p < .05; American Indian: β = .08, p < .01). When comparing African American and American Indian groups, maternal spanking at age 1 predicted child externalizing behavior at age 3 (African American: β = .08, p < .01; American Indian: β = .06, p < .001), and maternal spanking at age 3 predicted child externalizing behavior at age 5 (African American: β = .08, p < .001; American Indian: β = .07, p < .001). Structural invariance tests suggested that the associations observed among American Indian children were not distinguishable from those observed among White and African American children. Results of this study can be interpreted in light of the recent American Academy of Pediatrics statement that encourages pediatricians to counsel parents against the use of physical punishment. Similar to White and African American families, American Indian families may benefit from reducing or eliminating the use of physical punishment.

Original Publication Citation

Ward, K. P., Lee, S. J., Limb, G. E., & Grogan-Kaylor, A. C. (2019). Physical Punishment and Child Externalizing Behavior: Comparing American Indian, White, and African American Children. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2019-07-13

Publisher

Journal of Interpersonal Violence

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Social Work

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

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