Project Director

Policastro, Christina

Department Examiner

Garland, Tammy


Dept. of Criminal Justice and Legal Assistant Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Corporal punishment, defined as “physical force resulting in pain or discomfort, but not significant injury…meant to alter a child’s unfavorable behavioral patterns,” remains a much debated topic of conversation in the United States (Straus & Donnelly, 2001, p. 4). Straus and Stewart (1999) reported that 94% of parents have spanked their children by the time of their fifth birthday. Moreover, the same study identified that 52% of parents continued to employ corporal punishment when their children were teenagers (twelve to thirteen years old) and 20% up until their children were seventeen years of age. However, spanking and similar forms of discipline previously employed in the school setting have, through policy revisions, been excluded, and now some scholars are calling for the eradication of such punishment in the home (Cuddy & Reeves, 2014). This is primarily due to various studies asserting that corporal punishment produces harmful effects including, but not limited to, depression, poor school performance, intensification of introversion and aggression, and cognitive injury (Berlin et al., 2009; Gershoff, 2002; Gershoff et al., 2010; Gershoff & Grogan-Kaylor, 2016; Gunnoe & Mariner, 1997; Kandel, 1990; Pagani et al., 2004; Simons, Simons, & Su, 2013; Straus & Paschall, 2009). The existing literature on perceptions of corporal punishment is scant and many studies of corporal punishment more generally are quite dated. In order to add to this body of literature, the current study explores millennials’ perceptions of corporal punishment in order to determine whether this population believes there to be a better punishment than corporal punishment. Specifically, the current study relies on a college student sample to examine how various individual characteristics such as age, race, and sex influence students’ perceptions of corporal punishment.


Many thanks to Dr. Christina Policastro and Dr. Tammy Garland for their much needed direction and to the Provost Student Research Awards (PSRA) committee who decided to provide funding for our research.

IRB Number



B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




Corporal punishment -- Analysis; School discipline -- Analysis


Corporal punishment; Spanking; Better punishment; Child abuse; Punishment; Physical discipline


Criminology and Criminal Justice

Document Type



29 leaves




Under copyright.