Corporal Punishment and Child Development in Low- and- Middle-Income Countries: Progress, Challenges, and Directions


Most studies and reviews of studies on the developmental consequences of corporal punishment have focused on samples from the U.S. and other high-income countries. This study conducted a rapid review of the literature on the associations between corporal punishment and children’s cognitive and social-emotional development in low- and- middle-income countries (LMICs). Information from more than 42 studies of children younger than 18 years living in 64 LMICs was reviewed. Overall, the reviewed studies show associations between corporal punishment and negative cognitive and social-emotional outcomes, and there is no evidence that corporal punishment may relate to any positive developmental outcome in LMICs. Yet, issues of internal and external validity are common in the literature. The current evidence indicates that corporal punishment might increase the risk of detrimental child outcomes in LMICs, but further research with stronger methodological designs including samples from multiple settings is warranted.
Last updated on 04/29/2022