Date of Award

Summer 6-29-1998

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Curt Paulsen

Second Advisor

Matt Halley

Third Advisor

Richard Spratt


This historical thesis analyzed information about corporal punishment in American public schools from the early 1900's to the present. This historical research study examined economic, social and political trends and explored the relationship they have with corporal punishment. The study examined children's behavioral expressions to which corporal punishment was designed to respond and evaluated the effectiveness of corporal punishment. The study found a relationship between students who live in poverty and displayed difficult behavioral expressions at school and the use of corporal punishment. Students who live in poverty experience corporal punishment in their school more often than their peers who live in adequate economic circumstances. The findings indicate a relationship between the use and support for corporal punishment in the schools and the socioeconomic conditions of the society. A link was found between the perceived need to use corporal punishment in the classroom due to difficult behaviors displayed by students in order to maintain classroom control. The study found no empirical evidence that corporal punishment is effective.


SC 11.MSW.1998.Hanson.CA

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