Physical punishment and the parenting cycle: A survey of Northern Irish parents

T Murphy-Cowan, Maurice Stringer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The intergenerational transmission of physical punishment was examined in a questionnaire study of Northern Irish parents (n = 371). Participants completed measures of commitment to and use of physical punishment, hostility and a retrospective parenting report on their parents' disciplinary behaviours. The results reveal that 91% of Northern Irish parents report using physical punishment to discipline their children (including 44% who smack only `very rarely'). Retrospective reports of working class parents suggest that physical punishment by grandparents at low, medium and high levels corresponds to the levels of reported punishment used by participants with their own children. Middle class parents who reported low or medium levels of parental discipline displayed a similar pattern of intergenerational transmission. However, middle class parents who reported receiving higher levels of punishment were found to use lower rates of punishment with their children. Copyright (C) 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-71
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1999


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