Spanking and Young Children’s Socioemotional Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Garrett Pace , University of Michigan
Shawna Lee, University of Michigan
Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, University of Michigan

Spanking is a common form of child discipline used by parents around the world. Research on children in high-income countries has shown that parental spanking is associated with adverse child outcomes, yet less is known about how spanking is related to child well-being in low- and middle-income countries. Using Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey data from 62 countries, we examine the relationship between spanking and child well-being. We find that spanking in the household is associated with lower socioemotional development among 3- and 4-year-old children. Country-specific results reveal that spanking is not associated with higher socioemotional development for children in any country. While the cross-sectional association between spanking and socioemotional development is small, findings suggest that spanking may be harmful for children on a more global scale than was previously known.

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 Presented in Session 2. Children & Youth