Feature article

Reaching out to all faiths and families to reduce corporal punishment

How religion relates to corporal punishment.

By Annette Mahoney, PhD

For years, social scientists have been concerned that religiously conservative parents may lean on narrow interpretations of sacred scriptures to justify corporal punishment (Ellison & Sherkat, 1993; Dyslin & Thomsen, 2005; Perrin, Miller-Perrin & Song, in press). Speaking to this concern, this article summarizes empirical findings about links between corporal punishment and conservative Protestant affiliation and beliefs as well as religious attendance more broadly. Suggestions for working collaboratively with diverse parents and religious communities to reduce corporal punishment are offered.