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Moving research beyond the spanking debate

MacMillan, Harriet L.; Mikton, Christopher

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Harriet L. MacMillan


© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Despite numerous studies identifying a broad range of harms associated with the use of spanking and other types of physical punishment, debate continues about its use as a form of discipline. In this commentary, we recommend four strategies to move the field forward and beyond the spanking debate including: 1) use of methodological approaches that allow for stronger causal inference; 2) consideration of human rights issues; 3) a focus on understanding the causes of spanking and reasons for its decline in certain countries; and 4) more emphasis on evidence-based approaches to changing social norms to reject spanking as a form of discipline. Physical punishment needs to be recognized as an important public health problem.


MacMillan, H. L., & Mikton, C. (2017). Moving research beyond the spanking debate. Child Abuse and Neglect, 71, 5-8.

Journal Article Type Note
Acceptance Date Feb 6, 2017
Online Publication Date Mar 1, 2017
Publication Date Sep 1, 2017
Deposit Date Mar 17, 2017
Publicly Available Date Mar 1, 2019
Journal Child Abuse and Neglect
Print ISSN 0145-2134
Electronic ISSN 1873-7757
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 71
Pages 5-8
Keywords spanking, physical punishment, physical discipline
Public URL
Publisher URL


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