Smacking - are we being too heavy-handed? Findings from the Pacific Islands Families Study

Schluter, Philip J., Sundborn, Gerhard, Abbott, Max and Paterson, Janis (2007) Smacking - are we being too heavy-handed? Findings from the Pacific Islands Families Study. The New Zealand Medical Journal, 120 1267: 47-56.

Author Schluter, Philip J.
Sundborn, Gerhard
Abbott, Max
Paterson, Janis
Title Smacking - are we being too heavy-handed? Findings from the Pacific Islands Families Study
Journal name The New Zealand Medical Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1175-8716
Publication date 2007-12-14
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 120
Issue 1267
Start page 47
End page 56
Total pages 9
Editor F. Frizelle
Place of publication Christchurch, New Zealand
Publisher New Zealand Medical Association
Language eng
Subject C1
389999 Other Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences
321210 Community Child Health
759999 Other social development and community services
730204 Child health
Formatted abstract
Aims To report the types, frequency, and concordance of physical punishments employed by parents on their Pacific children at ages 1, 2, and 4 years.

A cohort of Pacific infants born during 2000 in South Auckland, New Zealand, was followed. Separate home interviews that included questions about child discipline were undertaken at 1-year, 2-years, and 4-years postpartum for mothers, and 1-year and 2-years postpartum for fathers. Results Maternal interviews were completed from 1224, 1144, and 1048 mothers and 825 and 757 fathers respectively. Over these measurement waves, the prevalence of smacking was 21.5%, 52.0%, and 77.1% for mothers and 24.4% and 78.4% for fathers, while the prevalence of hitting with an object (such as a spoon or belt) was 0.2%, 6.6%, and 24.3% for mothers and 1.3% and 13.2% for fathers. There was poor statistical agreement in physical punishment administered between mothers and fathers, and significant asymmetry with fathers more likely to employ harsher punishment than mothers.

Conclusions Smacking is a widespread form of discipline administered to Pacific children, and hitting with objects is common. If the use of objects constitutes a consequential assault in the newly ratified Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007 then many parents within this cohort are in breach of this law. We believe that guidelines for corporal punishment which is legally acceptable needs to be made explicit to all, and widespread culturally sensitive efforts to teach parents positive parent management strategies is urgently required.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Version Filter Type
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 5 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Fri, 02 May 2008, 22:47:30 EST by Allison Peacock on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work