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Open AccessArticle

Factors that Influence Chinese Parents’ Intentions to Use Physical Violence to Discipline Their Preschool Children

1
Institute of Child and Adolescent Health, School of Public Health, Peking University, Beijing 100191, China
2
School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane 4000, Australia
3
Institute for Community Health Research, Hue University, Hue 530000, Vietnam
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These two authors contributed equally to this article.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1787; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051787
Received: 18 February 2020 / Revised: 1 March 2020 / Accepted: 1 March 2020 / Published: 10 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Child Abuse, Mental Health and Resilience)
This study explored factors affecting parents’ intentions to use physical violence (PV) to discipline their children in the future. The theory of planned behavior (TPB) guided selection of variables. A sample of 1337 preschool children’s parents from nine kindergartens located in a county of Henan Province, China were selected by stratified random cluster sampling. Data on parents’ attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control over PV, intentions to engage in PV to discipline their preschool children in the future, self-reported PV behavior toward their children during the past three months, and demographic characteristics were collected via a paper-based questionnaire. Multivariable logistic regression analyses examined putative predictors of parents’ intentions to use physically violent discipline. Nearly three-quarters of the sample said they definitely will not use violent discipline, while 23.4% either said they would use it, or did not rule it out. Logistic regression analysis showed that parents’ lower level of perceived behavioral control over using violence (OR 4.17; 95% CI: 2.659, 6.551), attitudes that support PV (OR 2.23; 95% CI: 1.555, 3.203), and having been physically violent with their children during the past three months (OR 1.62; 95% CI: 1.032, 2.556) were significantly associated with parents’ tendency either to include, or not exclude, the use of violent discipline. Parents’ subjective norms regarding PV had no significant impact on their intentions (p > 0.05). The influence of TPB constructs varied according to parents’ gender. Intervention programs that aim to reduce violent discipline should focus both on increasing parents’ perceived behavioral control over PV and changing their attitudes toward physically violent practices, especially among mothers and parents who have already used PV to discipline their children. View Full-Text
Keywords: physical violence against children; parents; intentions; theory of planned behavior; China physical violence against children; parents; intentions; theory of planned behavior; China
MDPI and ACS Style

Wang, H.; Zhu, G.; Chen, J.; Lyu, L.; Dunne, M. Factors that Influence Chinese Parents’ Intentions to Use Physical Violence to Discipline Their Preschool Children. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1787.

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