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

Karin Österman, Kaj Björkqvist, Kristian Wahlbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)568–581
JournalAggressive Behavior
Volume40
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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