Twenty‐eight years after the complete ban on the physical punishment of children in Finland: trends and psychosocial concomitants

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Karin Österman, Kaj Björkqvist, Kristian Wahlbeck
Publisher: Wiley
Publication year: 2014
Journal: Aggressive Behavior
Volume number: 40
Issue number: 6
Start page: 568
End page: 581
eISSN: 0096-140X


In 1983 Finland became the second country in the world, after Sweden, to adopt a law prohibiting all kinds of physical punishment
towards children, also by parents. The present investigation was carried out in 2011, 28 years after the law was adopted. Changes
in exposure to various types of physical punishment towards respondents born between 1931 and 1996 are presented. A
representative sample from Western Finland, consisting of 4,609 respondents (2,632 females, 1,977 males) between 15 and
80 years, filled in a paper‐and‐pencil questionnaire. A number of psychosocial concomitants were measured. The results showed a
significant drop in reports of being slapped and beaten with an object among respondents who were born after the law was
adopted. The decline in physical punishment was associated with a similar decline in the number of murdered children.
Respondents who had been exposed to higher amounts of physical punishment than average scored significantly higher on alcohol
abuse, depression, mental health problems, and schizotypal personality. Divorced respondents had been significantly more
physically punished than others. Respondents who had attempted suicide during the last 12 months had been exposed to physical
punishment during childhood significantly more often than those who had not attempted suicide.


Last updated on 2020-24-02 at 04:49