Disciplinary slapping is associated with bullying in adolescence

A recent publication, Disciplinary slapping is associated with bullying involvement regardless of warm parenting in early adolescence, from Dr Shinya Fujikawa, a visiting academic from the University of Tokyo, examined the effect of disciplinary slapping on bullying involvement in early adolescence. The paper, published in the Journal of Adolescence, used data from the Tokyo Early Adolescence Survey – a large population-based survey of 4,478 children aged 10 years.

The paper examined the association of slapping as a parental disciplinary practice with adolescent bullying involvement (bullies, victims, bully-victims) while considering how warm parenting (praise and affection) modifies this association.

Key findings of the study showed that:

  • 40% of participating children experience slapping only “sometimes” or more often
  • 33% of participating children were involved in bullying
  • Frequent and occasional slapping was associated with increased odds of youth being identified as bullies or bully-victims, even after adjusting for warm parenting
  • The likelihood of being victims, bullies, or bully-victims increased as the frequency of slapping regardless of warm parenting

Overall, these findings suggest that disciplinary slapping may lead to bullying involvement in early adolescence regardless of whether warm parenting is present or not.

The full article is available to read here.

About the Tokyo Teen Cohort study

Tokyo Teen Cohort study is a prospective population-based cohort study of over 3,000 children and their parents, investigating the physiological and psychological developments during adolescence.

Data collection of this study has been conducted biennially (Wave 1 [the Tokyo Early Adolescence Survey] at age 10, Wave 2 at age 12, Wave 3 at age 14, etc.) with high follow-up rate of 95%.

The Tokyo Early Adolescence survey was originally designed as a baseline survey for the Tokyo Teen Cohort study. 

The Tokyo Teen Cohort team, researchers and investigators

 About the first author

Dr Shinya Fujikawa is a psychiatrist and researcher from the Tokyo Teen Cohort project, University of Tokyo, Japan. His main research interests include adolescent mental health and resilience.

Shinya in 16-months into his two-year visit, to learn about analysing longitudinal cohort data to facilitate similar analyses within the Tokyo Teen Cohort data on his return to Japan. Shinya is currently working with the CATS team examining the determinants of bullying to find the ways to prevent bullying and the mental health problems that can result.

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