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Children's Perceptions of Corporal Punishment, Caretaker Acceptance, and Psychological Adjustment in a Poor, Biracial Southern Community

Ronald P. Rohner, Shana L. Bourque and Carlos A. Elordi
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 58, No. 4 (Nov., 1996), pp. 842-852
DOI: 10.2307/353974
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353974
Page Count: 11
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Children's Perceptions of Corporal Punishment, Caretaker Acceptance, and Psychological Adjustment in a Poor, Biracial Southern Community
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Abstract

This study explores two related questions about relationships between perceived justness and perceived harshness of corporal punishment, perceived caretaker acceptance-rejection, and children's psychological adjustment: Are children's perceptions of caretaker harshness and unjustness of physical punishment associated with children's psychological maladjustment? Or does the relationship between punishment and maladjustment disappear after controlling for perceived caretaker acceptance-rejection? The research is based on a proportional, stratified, random sample of 281 Black and White youths in grades 3-12 within the public school system of a poor, biracial county of southeastern Georgia. Results of structural equation modeling suggest that physical punishment is associated with children's psychological maladjustment only if punishment is seen by youths as a form of caretaker rejection. The findings contribute information to an ongoing debate about the relationship between physical punishment and children's psychological adjustment.

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