A study by Whaley (2000) states that although a positive correlation between the use of physical discipline (i.e., spanking) and disruptive disorders in children is found in studies of European American families, research on African American families has found a negative association or none at all. Moreover, a review of the literature indicates that the positive association between spanking and child behavior problems is bidirectional for White families, whereas it is the product of reverse causation (i.e., negative child behaviors result in spanking) in Black families. The implications of these sociocultural differences for parent training programs and the family study of disruptive behaviors are discussed.
This study establishes that the positive correlation between the use of physical discipline and disruptive disorders in children found in research on European American families does not appear to be generalizable to African American families. Black parents' use of spanking is more a consequence than a cause of problem behaviors in children. Moreover, parents in the African American community, especially in low-income urban areas, may use authoritarian methods in attempts to protect their children from noxious social environments. Awareness of sociocultural... [continues]
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