Physical punishment in christian arab families in israel: Attitudes and behaviour

Joseph Guttmann, Amnon Lazar, Samar Makhoul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study examines the attitudes towards physical punishment (PP) and its actual use as reported by Christian Arab parents and their children in Israel. Participants were parents and one child (of at least two) in 50 Christian Arab families. Three questionnaires based on semi-structured interviews were developed for the study. Results show no difference in family members' attitudes towards the use of PP. Whereas, the mean scores indicate ambivalent acceptance of this practice, the great majority of participants reported its frequent use. Mothers' and fathers' attitudes were found to be highly correlated and significant predictors of such behaviour. All three groups reported that mothers use PP much more than fathers do, although it was the fathers whom the children feared most. The results also show that the parents' most frequent reaction to seven categories of children's misbehaviour was verbal violence and the second most frequent reaction was PP. These and other results are discussed in the context of Arab culture in Israel, the social situation model and relevant research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-441
Number of pages12
JournalChildren and Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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