Parental Physical Punishment Across Turkish, Turkish-speaking Cypriot, and American Family Contexts

Matthew K. Mulvaney, Elif Dede Yildirim, Ayşe Duygu Çakırsoy Aslan, Ebru Şengul, Cihan Kayıkçı

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this work was to examine the impact of parental physical punishment on developmental outcomes within the Turkish and Turkish-speaking Cypriot communities and in comparison to a sample of students from the USA. Both cultural communities are experiencing dynamic transitions related to secularization, economic modernization, and trends in educational outcomes. The relatively understudied Turkish-speaking Cypriot community, in particular, represents a community that may extend our knowledge of the impact of physical punishment. It is a unique cultural milieu that blends cultural features of both Turkey and Cyprus and experiences tensions in the identities of these communities because of the unique sociopolitical situation of Northern Cyprus. A sample of participants from a Turkish university located in Northern Cyprus was recruited and administered surveys on their experiences of physical punishment in childhood. Using latent class analysis, a common measurement framework was identified across the communities. Using these latent classes as outcomes, participants from both the Turkish and Turkish-speaking Cypriot communities reported a greater likelihood of experiencing more severe physical punishment during childhood. Participants who reported lower likelihood of experiencing physical punishment had significantly better relationships with their mothers than participants who reported more moderate physical punishment. This work extends the discussion of the cultural impact on physical punishment outcomes across cultural communities to identify two additional cultural communities in which the experience of physical punishment serves as a potential risk factor for negative developmental outcomes. This work demonstrates that in each of these communities, despite varying educational and religious features of the contexts, experiencing more severe physical punishment was associated with increased risk for negative developmental outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdversity and Resilience Science
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Cross-cultural
  • Cyprus
  • Physical Punishment
  • Turkish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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