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December 20, 1995

Beating the Devil Out of Them: Corporal Punishment in American Families

Author Affiliations

The C. Henry Kempe National Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect University of Colorado School of Medicine Denver

JAMA. 1995;274(23):1887-1889. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530230071038

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Greater Expectations: Overcoming the Culture of Indulgence in America's Homes and Schools, by William Damon, 285 pp, $23, ISBN 0-02-906935-1, New York, NY, The Free Press, 1995.

In Beating the Devil out of Them: Corporal Punishment in American Families, Murray A. Straus begins by lamenting the lack of attention that social scientists and researchers have given to corporal punishment and its effect on children. He argues that the acceptance of corporal punishment by parents, teachers, and even those who write books on child development has led to the tendency to ignore the relationship of this form of violence perpetrated against children by their parents to all other forms of violence.

Perhaps one of the more convincing arguments that appears throughout the book is that using violence to correct misbehavior or solve problems teaches the child, often beginning in the infancy and toddler years, that one uses violence to correct wrongs.

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