Original Articles

Functions Served by Corporal Punishment: Adolescent Perspectives

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 21, issue 1, 2011 , pages: 121–124
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2011.10820437
Author(s): Pesanayi GwirayiUniversity of Fort Hare,


This exploratory study investigated the functions served by corporal punishment as perceived by high school students in a developing country. A qualitative research design was used. Participants were a convenient sample of five high school students. Data were collected using the focus group interview technique. Results show that adolescents have contesting views on the functions served by corporal punishment in school. Adolescents' perspectives coalesced into three main conceptual spheres namely: hedonistic/sadistic, regulatory and instrumental functions. Teachers and other professionals, whose mandate is the welfare of adolescents, need to recognise the influence and importance of adolescent perspectives on functions served by corporal punishment.

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