Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2021

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Shannon Self-Brown

Second Advisor

Emily Graybill

Third Advisor

Julia Neighbors

Abstract

Despite evidence suggesting the ineffectiveness of caregivers’ use of corporal punishment (CP), it is still a commonly accepted disciplinary practice. The advice of trusted providers is shown to influence parental attitudes of CP; however, research is limited regarding attitudes and discussion of CP with families from providers, such as home visitors and parent educators.

This research, conducted across two studies, aimed to assess and change CP attitudes, knowledge and practices among home visitor and parent educator providers. The first study collected survey data from Georgia providers, with the goal of filling current gaps in the CP scientific literature. A sample of 64 providers reported unfavorable attitudes on the Attitudes Toward Spanking (ATS) scale (M = 2.38, SD = .80), and expected more negative outcomes (M = 2.92, SD = .86) from the use of CP than positive outcomes (M = 2.2, SD = .81) based on the Expected Outcomes of CP scale.

The second study examined effectiveness of a brief training intervention to equip providers with CP knowledge and skills that can be used in sessions and program delivery with caregivers. Workshop participants (N=42) demonstrated significant differences from pre-survey (before the training) to post-survey (after the training) on the ATS scale (Mpre = 2.11, Mpost = 1.77, t35 = 2.77, p < .01) and positive (Mpre =2 .07, Mpost = 1.70, t35 = 2.86, p < .01) and negative (Mpre = 2.80, Mpost = 3.60, t35 = -4.71, p < .001) Expected Outcomes of CP scale. On the three-month follow-up survey, the negative expected outcomes score continued to be significantly different from the pre-survey score (Mpre = 2.89, M3month = 3.36, t35 = -2.70, p < .05), but the ATS score and positive expected outcomes score were not significantly different from the pre-survey score. Qualitative analyses from interviews conducted with providers who participated in the workshop revealed that providers encountered barriers to discussing CP with families, the need for skill-oriented training, and the positive impact of the pilot training. These findings underscores the need for a disseminable workshop training that can better equip providers to discuss CP with families.

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