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Zhonghua Er Ke Za Zhi. 2006 Jan;44(1):26-30.

[A retrospective survey of childhood corporal punishment by school teachers in students].

[Article in Chinese]

Author information

  • 1Institute of Child and Adolescent Health, Peking University, Beijing 100083, China.



To ascertain the prevalence of childhood corporal punishment by teachers in students, to explore the influencing factors and associations between childhood corporal punishment and psychological problems.


Five hundred and twenty-eight students from a college and a technical secondary school in Hebei province were surveyed by self-administered questionnaire anonymously in Dec. 2004. The questionnaire used for this survey mainly included (1) general demographic information; (2) 5 forms of childhood corporal punishments, in this study, cases of teachers' corporal punishments were defined as those who answered positively one or more of the 5 questions relating to childhood corporal punishment by school teachers occurring before the age of 16 years; (3) Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90); (4) Youth Risk Behaviours.


Overall, 57.6% of students reported having been corporally punished at least one time, one of four forms of corporal punishment by teachers before age of 16 years, the four forms corporal punishment were non-contact corporal punishment, e.g., running for punishment, repeat-doing homework many times for punishment, standing for punishment, kneel down for punishment, not allowing to eat, sending outside in winter, etc. (53.4%), hitting/kicking/pushing very hard with open hands/fist/feet/other part of body (16.1%), beating with an object (10.2%), and locking in a small compartment/tying with rope (0.2%). No students reported having been choked, or burned/scalded, or stabbed with a sharp object by the teachers. Males had a significantly higher overall prevalence rate than females (66.4% vs. 46.6%, chi(2) = 21.01, P = 0.000). There was no statistically significant association between a history of childhood corporal punishment and the three other demographic indicators, which included residence region (rural and non-rural area) prior to 16 years of age, parental education level, and whether the respondent lived in a single or multiple children family. Compared with their peers who had not experienced childhood corporal punishment by teachers, the students with two or more forms of corporal punishments by teachers showed significantly higher scores (punished group vs. unpunished group) of psychological symptoms of somatization (0.78 vs. 0.42), obsessiveness (1.22 vs. 0.98), interpersonal sensitivity (1.24 vs. 0.89), depression (1.06 vs. 0.76), anxiety (0.90 vs. 0.64), hostility (1.11 vs. 0.68), paranoid ideation (1.11 vs. 0.71) and psychoticism (0.84 vs. 0.56), and showed significantly higher rates in sadness (54.7% vs. 26.3%), drunk (37.2% vs. 20.1%), involving in physical fighting (15.1% vs. 3.6%) in the past year and current smoking (36.0% vs. 14.5%).


The problem of corporal punishment by teachers is common in schools, and the problem has a significant correlation with youth mental health problems. The results highlighted urgent needs to increase public awareness on children rights, creating learning-friendly environment in school.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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