Corporal punishment, defined as the application of physical pain (e.g., spanking, slapping, or grabbing) to decrease a child’s undesirable behavior, is associated with negative mental health outcomes. Clients may present to mental health counselors with concerns that stem from their experience of corporal punishment. Mental health counselors work to prevent deleterious consequences of corporal punishment through the provision of psychoeducation on effective parenting strategies. Given that young adults are the largest group of prospective parents in the United States, the present investigators examined attitudes about the utility of corporal punishment as a disciplinary strategy among young adults who do not have children. Results revealed differences in the rates of endorsement of corporal punishment as a disciplinary strategy by gender and ethnicity. Higher rates were found among young adults who identified as male and those who identified as White relative to those who identified as female and those who identified as Latinx, respectively. These findings have a number of implications for challenging stereotypes (e.g., that Latinx clients endorse corporal punishment at higher rates than clients who identify as White) and enhancing mental health counselors’ prevention efforts (e.g., targeting attitudes about corporal punishment among those likely to become parents).
Young Adults’ Attitudes About Corporal Punishment: Implications for Mental Health Counseling
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Jessica L. Smith, Michael T. Kalkbrenner; Young Adults’ Attitudes About Corporal Punishment: Implications for Mental Health Counseling. Journal of Mental Health Counseling 1 July 2020; 42 (3): 251–264. doi: https://doi.org/10.17744/mehc.42.3.05
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