Publications

Literature review on outcomes of parental discipline styles, evidence on effective parenting styles and the international experience of prohibition of physical punishment in law

Robertson, L. (2017), Literature review on outcomes of parental discipline styles, evidence on effective parenting styles and the international experience of prohibition of physical punishment in law. Glasgow: Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research

Summary

This review was commissioned by the Scottish Government to explore the legal approach taken in a variety of jurisdictions to the smacking of children and to review research evidence on the outcomes of physical punishment and on alternative approaches to disciplining children.

This is a literature review of the international evidence on parental physical punishment and other forms of disciplinary approaches regarding their effectiveness and outcomes. It does not look at physical punishment in institutions. The majority of the studies included in this review on parental physical punishment relate to pre-school and young school-aged children. It does not specifically examine studies which explore the use of physical punishment with adolescents, as the use of physical punishment with adolescents is a lot less common, although some of the longitudinal studies examined explore the longer-term impacts of physical punishment into adolescence.

The evidence on the effectiveness and outcomes of other forms of disciplinary approaches covers a wider age range, and evidence relating to specific age groups of children will be highlighted. The report also identifies and discusses the international experience of physical punishment legislation as well as recommendations of particular approaches to parental disciplinary approaches in three countries: Sweden, New Zealand and Germany.