Changing Orientations to Corporal Punishment: A Randomized, Control Trial of the Efficacy of a Motivational Approach to Psycho-Education

Grant W.O. Holland, George W. Holden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


To evaluate the efficacy of a motivational interviewing (MI) approach in changing positive attitudes toward corporal punishment (CP), behavioral intentions, and behavior. CP has been linked to a variety of negative outcomes for children, and parents' attitudes toward CP strongly predicts its use. Five brief interventions have been reported in the literature designed to target CP attitudes. The current study adopts a novel approach by evaluating the effects of a brief, psycho-educational intervention incorporating aspects of MI. Method: Forty-three mothers of children ages 3 to 5 completed 1 motivational psycho-education session. Participants were randomly assigned to intervention or waitlist, completing assessments at baseline, postintervention, and 1-month follow-up. After follow-up, the waitlist condition crossed over, completing the intervention and further assessments. Results: The intervention was associated with greater reductions in CP attitudes and intentions versus the waitlist; these effects were replicated in the crossover group. Further, participants' in-session change-talk predicted greater changes in CP attitudes. The effect size of the current approach was stronger than the prior interventions. Conclusions: MI is a promising approach to address parental use of CP, though this approach needs replication with a larger sample. Several ways of incorporating this approach on a wider scale are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-242
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Violence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Attitudes
  • corporal punishment
  • discipline
  • intervention
  • motivational interviewing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology


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