Stress appraisal and attitudes towards corporal punishment as intervening processes between corporal punishment and subsequent mental health

Matthew K. Mulvaney, Carolyn J. Mebert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


The purpose of this research was to examine the role of within-person processes in determining the impact of parental corporal punishment on mental health in older adolescents. A stress appraisal scale specific to corporal punishment and an attitudes towards corporal punishment scale were developed for this study and examined as determinants of the impact of corporal punishment on psychological and parent-child relationship outcomes. Results of this research indicated that participants' evaluations of their parents' corporal punishment as threatening was more important than the actual frequency of corporal punishment in determining adolescent mental health, and were significantly associated with the mental health measures after controlling for other elements of parenting. In addition, the mother-child relationship was more adversely impacted by mothers' corporal punishment when adolescents evaluated that punishment negatively. These results enhance theoretical models describing intrapersonal processes through which subabusive parental violence affects children and can help to improve intervention efforts aimed at reducing negative outcomes associated with corporal punishment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-412
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2010



  • Appraisal
  • Corporal punishment
  • Discipline
  • Physical punishment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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