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Parental disciplinary strategies: experience of 12-year old school children


Piyanjali De Zoysa ,

University of Colombo, LK
About Piyanjali
Department of Psychological Medicine
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Lalini Rajapakse,

University of Colombo, Kynsey Road, Colombo 8, LK
About Lalini
Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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Peter A. Newcombe

University of Queensland, Brisbane, 4072, AU
About Peter A.
School of Social Work and Applied Human Sciences, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
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The purpose of the study was to explore the non-violent and violent parental disciplinary strategies experienced by 12-year old Sinhala speaking school children, by using the Sinhala version of the parent-child conflict tactics scale (CTSPC). One hundred and eleven children, with a relatively equal number of boys and girls, from two conveniently located schools in the Gampaha district took part in the study. The CTSPC was administered in groups of approximately 20 children. Non-violent discipline was the most commonly reported disciplinary type (annual rate 56%; lifetime rate 68%), followed by psychological aggression (annual rate 40%; lifetime rate 50%) and then corporal punishment (annual rate 33%; lifetime rate 46%). Though physically abusive acts were the least commonly experienced (annual rate 15%; lifetime rate 23%), it was nevertheless reported by a considerable number of children. The results indicate that a relatively large percentage of children experience psychological and physical violence at home. The results also suggest that parents may resort to physically abusive acts when "normal" violent disciplinary encounters escalate beyond their control. Larger scale studies determining the prevalence and correlates of parental use of violent discipline need to be carried out in order to design culturally appropriate preventive intervention programmes aimed at combating child-directed violence in Sri Lanka.
How to Cite: De Zoysa, P., Rajapakse, L. and Newcombe, P.A., 2004. Parental disciplinary strategies: experience of 12-year old school children. Ceylon Journal of Medical Science, 47(2), pp.43–50. DOI:
Published on 27 Dec 2004.
Peer Reviewed


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