Effects of Maternal Warmth and Corporal Punishment on Children in Eight Countries

An international team tested prediction of changes in scores on the CBCL and YSR Anxious/Depressed and Aggressive Behavior syndrome scales over 3 years for 1,196 children from eight countries (Lansford et al., 2014). The countries included China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Thailand, and the U.S. At Time 1, mothers were interviewed about their use of corporal punishment and their children were interviewed about their mother’s expression of warmth. At Time 1 and at two 1-year intervals thereafter, the CBCL was administered to mothers and the YSR was administered to their children, who were 7- to -10-years old at Time 1. Across the eight countries, the combination of low corporal punishment and high maternal warmth predicted the largest decreases in scores on the CBCL and YSR Anxious/Depressed syndrome. The only children whose Anxious/Depressed scores increased over the 3-year period had mothers who were high on corporal punishment and low on warmth. Although there were variations among countries and groups within countries, the authors concluded that “overall effects showed that corporal punishment was related to increases, and maternal warmth was related to decreases in children’s anxiety and aggression over time” (p. 682).

Reference: Lansford, J.E. et al. (2014). Corporal punishment, maternal warmth, and child adjustment: A longitudinal study in eight countries. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 43, 670-685.