Impact of education about physical punishment of children on the attitudes of future physicians Article (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Dynes, Morgan; Knox, Michele; Hunter, Kimberly; Srivathsal, Yazhini; Caldwell, Isabella


  • Parental physical punishment (PP) of children has been the focus of many research studies, and results of meta-analyses show PP to be significantly associated with behavioral, emotional, and cognitive problems. Professional organizations developed statements against using PP, but U.S. children continue to experience high rates of PP. This may be due to healthcare providers failing to advise parents against the use PP, or not feeling qualified to discuss these topics with parents due to a lack of training. In a study of two classes of first-year medical students at a large Midwestern university (2015–2016, Year 1; N = 41; 2016–2017, Year 2; N = 64), students completed the Attitudes Toward Spanking scale before taking the Child Advocacy Elective (CAST), after a 2-hour PP lecture, and again after course completion. Results indicated that favorable attitudes toward spanking significantly reduced after the 2-hour lecture, and these changes were maintained at the end of the academic year. These results indicate that there is potential for a short course on the use of PP that could be used to bolster gaps in medical education. This course could increase physicians’ comfort in discussing PP with parents in their medical practices and allow parents to make informed discipline decisions.


publication date

  • 2019

published in

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 14


  • 49