Effects of Corporal Punishment on Adults

Corporal punishment is used in over half of U.S. families. The idea of corporal punishment is deeply embedded in American culture that many of us don’t think about the negative effects that it has. The previous page discussed the effects on children but what happens when these children grow up?

The use of corporal punishment has many negative effects on adults.  In a study conducted by Gelles, he found that spouse who had experienced corporal punishment frequently had a higher rate of assaulting a partner than those who had not been hit. Kalmuss found that experiencing corporal punishment as a teenager more than doubled the probability of husband-to-wife and wife-to-husband assaults.

Baron and Straus theorizes that “violence in one sphere of life tends to engender violence in other spheres, and that this carry-over process transcends the bounds between legitimate and criminal use of force.” What this means essentially is that when parents use corporal punishment on their children, when the children grow up the violence they experience as children transcend into their adult lives. This puts children who experience corporal punishment in high risk of committing a crime as an adult. Baron and Straus, while conducting a yearlong survey, found that the more corporal punishment experienced by the respondent as a child the more likely they were to report act of physical aggression outside the family.

Straus also find that children who experienced corporal punishment experienced more depression as an adult than children that were physically abused. Corporal punishment also leads to a higher probability of engaging in masochistic sex as an adult.

Corporal punishment is a form of discipline that most of Americans engage in everyday. However most people don’t consider what these actions really mean for society as a whole.  Click here to read more about what ending corporal punishment means for society.