Exploring the effects of physical punishment on aggressive behavior and peer victimization: a conditional process analysis

Patrik Söderberg (Social Sciences, Åbo Akademi University, Vasa, Finland)
Kaj Bjorkqvist (Social Sciences, Åbo Akademi University, Vasa, Finland)
Karin Österman (Social Sciences, Åbo Akademi University, Vasa, Finland)

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research

ISSN: 1759-6599

Publication date: 11 January 2016

Abstract

Purpose

Recent studies indicate that exposure to physical punishment is associated with both aggressive behavior and peer victimization at school. The purpose of this paper is to explore the bidirectional relationship between aggressive behavior and peer victimization as outcomes of physical punishment, as well as the role of depressive symptoms.

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 2,424 Finnish upper primary school pupils (1,282 girls, 1,148 boys, mean age=14.2, SD=1.0) completed an online survey during class. Two conditional process models were applied using a macro for SPSS developed by Hayes (2012).

Findings

Exposure to physical punishment was found to be associated with both aggressive behavior and peer victimization at school. The effect on victimization was partially mediated by aggressive behavior and depressive symptoms, whereas the effect on aggressive behavior was partially mediated by peer victimization experiences but not by depressive symptoms. The relationship between physical punishment and peer victimization was somewhat stronger for girls than for boys, but this effect was not accounted for by gender differences in depressive symptoms or aggressive behavior.

Originality/value

Few studies to date have addressed the connection between aggressive behavior and peer victimization as outcomes of physical punishment. In addition, the study expands on the concept of “victim personality” by examining the mediating role of depressive symptoms. Methodologically, the study is an example of how the statistical software SPSS can be used for multiple mediation and conditional process analysis as an alternative to SEM analyses.

Keywords

Citation

Patrik Söderberg, Kaj Bjorkqvist and Karin Österman (2016) "Exploring the effects of physical punishment on aggressive behavior and peer victimization: a conditional process analysis", Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 21-32

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DOI

: https://doi.org/10.1108/JACPR-09-2015-0187

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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