In this study we examined the association between Arab mothers’ self-efficacy and parenting attitudes and their children’s internalizing and externalizing behaviors, and whether these associations are mediated by the use of corporal punishment. Further, we examined whether the child’s gender moderates these associations. We included 2380 mothers of kindergartners who answered a questionnaire assessing levels of self-efficacy, attitudes on corporal punishment, use of corporal punishment, and their children’s internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Using structural equation modeling we tested for the mediation by corporal punishment of the association between self-efficacy, attitudes on corporal punishment and children’s behaviors. We further tested possible moderation by gender of the model. Results supported the hypothesized mediation effect of corporal punishment. Results suggest that mothers’ low self-efficacy and attitudes supporting corporal punishment were associated with elevated likelihood of use of corporal punishment which, in turn was associated with elevated levels of child’s internalizing and externalizing behaviors. No moderation by gender of this pathway was found, suggesting that boys and girls react similarly to the use of corporal punishment by their mothers. Interventions aimed at helping Arab mothers understand the impact of their behavior and guide them toward effective disciplinary strategies are suggested.
- Arab mothers
- Attitudes toward corporal punishment
- Corporal punishment