Individual, Family, and Community Education ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-7-2022


The current study looked to expand on established literature on the detrimental outcomes of corporal punishment by examining the long-term longitudinal associations between corporal punishment and children’s aggression in gender and racially diverse, low-income samples. Data were collected from 17 sites across the United States, with urban and rural locations included from an Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project (EHSREP). Lastly, the study aimed to look at self-regulation as a mediator to help explain the relationship between corporal punishment and aggression. The results show an overall positive association between corporal punishment and aggression. This means higher levels of harsh discipline led to higher levels of aggression, and this finding held across both race and gender. Additionally, self-regulation served as an underlying mechanism that helped explain the association between corporal punishment and aggression over roughly 10 years. As self-regulation was related to corporal punishment, those who experienced more or harsher corporal punishment had lower levels of self-regulation. Results from the present study suggest that children who experience corporal punishment are at higher risk for detrimental outcomes including aggression, which may dispute some researchers who have suggested discipline practices may have fewer negative effects on Black youth compared to European American youth. Discipline severity at 15 months was negatively associated with children’s self-regulation skills at 25 months. Additionally, children’s self-regulation skills at 25 months were negatively associated with their aggressive behaviors in 5th grade. Findings from the study conclude that parents’ use of physical punishment may model emotional dysregulation, which affects children’s regulatory abilities.


Anti-Social Behaviors, Determinants of Aggression, Discipline Severity, Dysregulation, Social Learning Theory, Stress Reactivity

Document Type




Degree Name

Family Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Individual, Family, and Community Education

First Committee Member (Chair)

Cara Streit

Second Committee Member

Ryan J. Kelly

Third Committee Member

Ashley Martin-Cuellar


Recommended Citation

Jeremy T. Armijo; Cara Streit; Ryan J. Kelly; and Ashley Martin-Cuellar. "Longitudinal Study of the Relations Between Corporal Punishment and Children's Aggression: The Mediating Role of Self-Regulation." (2022).