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Attitudes and opinions on corporal punishment among urban Israeli Jews.

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Department of Social Medicine, Hadassah Medical Organization, Jerusalem, Israel.


Corporal punishment of children constitutes a human rights violation and has mental health consequences, yet it is frequently practiced in many countries. The objectives of this study were to identify attitudes and opinions with regard to corporal punishment among urban Jewish Israelis. Corporal punishment was defined as the means to discipline children by the use of physical force. A short battery of questions exploring attitudes and opinions on the use of corporal punishment of children was added to a periodic survey conducted by a private polling organization. The sample included 1,000 urban Jewish Israeli community residents. Most respondents did not endorse corporal punishment. However, when confronted with a question tapping the readiness of adults to comply with a ruling by the Supreme Court that prohibits the use of corporal punishment at home, most respondents expressed skepticism that the public will comply. Forty percent thought that most parents would agree to undergo training in the use of alternative means of discipline. Fifty-seven percent experienced physical punishment when growing up, a variable which was associated with all responses favoring its use as a means of discipline. The results of the study provide the bases for public health action, including training programs on alternative methods of discipline. Further research targeting other population groups not yet explored is needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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