A new study from the University of Texas shows that Asian Americans are less likely to use corporal punishment than other ethnic and racial groups.
In the study authored by Elizabeth Gershoff, using a sample of 20,000 kindergartners and their parents, she found that 89% of black parents, 79% of white parents, 80% of Hispanic parents and 73% of Asian parents said they have spanked their children.
The study also reported that physical punishment by parents is actually legal in 49 out of 50 states (Minnesota is the exception) and included a list of 24 countries where physical punishment is outlawed in all settings including the home (there were no countries in Asia on the list).
These results may be a little bit of surprise, given the prevalence of corporal punishment in Asian cultures as discussed previously here on 8Asians. But the explanation may be found in the reasons why African Americans may have a higher use of corporal punishment. From a CNN article on the report:
Some researchers have suggested it’s a legacy left by the brutality of slavery. Some say it’s rooted in fear – that if parents don’t use force to demand obedience, someone else will. Others said African-American parents, in aggregate, are disproportionately lower-income, have less education and are more likely to follow a religion that implores them not to spare the rod for fear of spoiling the child – all factors that correlate with use of corporal punishment, regardless of race.
This would indicate there’s less corporal punishment in the Asian American community due to higher income and more education (of course that’s not true for all sub-groups of Asian Americans).
It’s too bad this study didn’t break out the difference between Asian American families that were immigrant families versus ones that have been here a generation or more. I think there might be substantial differences in the corporal punishment rates between those two sub-groups alone.
Although I’m an immigrant, I was raised in the U.S. since I was two, and I certainly do not use corporal punishment the way my immigrant parents did, and I’m sure this is likely the case for many Asian Americans who have been here for at least a generation as well. Are you surprised that Asian Americans use corporal punishment less?