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Maternal understanding of child discipline and maltreatment in the United States, South Korea, and Japan

Heimi Son, Young Ae Lee, Dong Hyun Ahn and Stacey N. Doan

Children and Youth Services Review, 2017, vol. 82, issue C, 444-454

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine American, Korean, and Japanese mothers' perceptions of maltreatment, and the factors influencing those perceptions in the context of general parenting and discipline. Through a cross-cultural comparative approach, we hope to identify potential universalities as well as cultural specific perceptions of parenting behaviors. For this purpose, a total of 153 mothers with a child aged 3 to 6years participated in the current study. Participants came from East Coast of the United States (N=48); Seoul, Korea (N=65); Japan (Tokyo and Saitama) (N=40). A modified version of a previously established questionnaire (Ahn, Park, & Lee, 1998) assessed mothers' attitudes toward multiple disciplinary behaviors. This questionnaire presented 17 specific vignettes describing disciplinary scenarios that could occur while disciplining children in everyday life, some of which could be perceived as physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. Results of the study suggest significant differences between groups in terms of maternal perceptions of maltreatment and the factors influencing maternal perceptions. American mothers reported the highest mean score among the three countries in perceiving discipline centered on corporal punishment as physical abuse. Korean mothers displayed a dual attitude of perceiving the scenario as maltreatment, but also rating it as likely to occur in everyday life. Japanese mothers showed the most permissive attitude toward harsh parental behaviors among the three countries on the grounds that they considered a strict and punitive attitude as a method of discipline. Overall, mothers of all three countries had the lowest scores for perceiving the vignette corresponding to neglect as maltreatment.

Keywords: Discipline; Physical abuse; Emotional abuse; Neglect; Cross-cultural understanding; Maternal perception (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:82:y:2017:i:c:p:444-454