This chapter presents an exchange-theory perspective for corporal punishment, beginning with a presentation of the basic assumptions, concepts, and propositions of exchange theory. The second section of this chapter applies these assumptions, concepts, and propositions to corporal punishment of children. The final section then examines changes in both public attitudes about corporal punishment and trend data on parents' use of corporal punishment, and offers an exchange-theory explanation for changes of both attitudes and behaviors. Although exchange theory was initially developed as a general theory of human social behavior, it is a theory of social behavior that is quite applicable to the issue of corporal punishment and has been used in family studies in general and family violence in particular.
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