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Child Abuse Negl. 2003 Aug;27(8):929-37.

Attitudes towards corporal punishment and reporting of abuse.

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The Hannah Khoushy Child Development Center, Bnai Zion Medical Center, POB 4940, Haifa 31048, Israel.



To assess physicians' attitudes towards corporal punishment in childhood and their subsequent actions regarding the reporting of child abuse.


107 physicians (95 pediatricians and 12 family practitioners) who work in hospitals and community clinics in northern Israel were interviewed. Of the participants, 16% were new immigrants.


A structured interview was conducted by one of two pediatric residents.


Attitudes towards corporal punishment were not influenced by the physicians' sex or specialty. Corporal punishment was approved by 58% of the physicians. A significant difference in attitudes towards corporal punishment between immigrants and Israeli born physicians was found (p=.004). Family practitioners and especially senior ones were found significantly less tolerant towards corporal punishment than pediatricians (p=.04). While reporting behavior was not found to be associated with parental status and the past experience of the physicians with child abuse, a significant effect of attitudes towards corporal punishment on reporting behavior was found (p=.01).


(1) Corporal punishment is still perceived as an acceptable disciplinary act by a significant proportion of physicians responsible for the health care of children in our area. (2) Attitudes towards corporal punishment are different between immigrants and native born Israeli trained doctors and, unexpectedly, pediatricians were more tolerant of corporal punishment than family practitioners.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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