Capital Punishment and Marital Status Insights

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Corporal Punishment vs. Child Abuse

When you were growing up as a kid, did you ever do something bad and receive a physical punishment from your parents? Some do and some don’t. However, those that can say that they have, did it help you later on in life, or did it affect you in a negative way? Throughout my research, I found that kids who receive corporal punishment at a young age are more mature, sophisticated, and more mindful of their actions. One question to ask, though, is once a couple decides to have a kid, does their marital status have any effect on whether or not they believe in corporal punishment? On SPSS (statistical package used to analyze and interpret data), numerous significant factors were shown to back this theory that marital status has no effect on whether or not you believe in corporal punishment. One thing, though, that needs to be understood is the difference between corporal punishment and child abuse.

Corporal punishment is physical punishment often performed on minors by their guardians. The punishment is often a consequence of something that the child has done. Child abuse, on the other hand, is the physical/psychological maltreatment of a child by a parent or guardian. Throughout this paper, I will uncover the answer effects of marital status on belief in corporal punishment on their kids by analyzing data collected by the General Social Survey.

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Historical Trends of Capital Punishment

My research paper is on the topic of adults who favor spanking their children as disciplinary action based on their marital status. I feel like this topic is important because capital punishment is one of the most disputed topics in U.S. history in the past century. Many people who believe in spanking their children see it as a social norm when it comes to disciplining. On the other hand, there are a number of people who believe that beating your children is morally and physically wrong. Back in the 60s and 70s (for example), capital punishment was a lot more prevalent than it is today.

Personally, growing up, I may have been spanked a couple of times, but as I grew older, technology really started to pick up, and I grew more and more attached to it. So attached that my parents found it more useful to take something away from me for a period of time rather than to hit me and have a sharp stinging pain on my butt for 10 minutes. I believe that parents beating their children is useful, but only really in the short run. There are many more effective ways to discipline your children rather than to hit them, whether it may be taking away the cell phone, no dessert for a week, or no social media / TV/video games.

Chi-Square: Marital Status & Spanking

To show my data, I chose to display it through a chi-square test. A chi-square test measures how likely it is that an observed distribution is due to chance. For my chi-square test, my null hypothesis would be that parents who favor spanking to discipline children are independent of their marital status. My research hypothesis would be that parents who favor spanking to discipline children are dependent on their marital status. In regards to my variables, I used marital status as my independent variable (column) and attitude toward spanking children as my dependent variable (rows).

The reason why I chose to use these two variables for my research is because they are my variables of interest; this is what I am trying to discover through my research and data. By looking at the data, there is a lot that I can infer. To start with, the data that I collected was very marginal. What I mean by this is that if you look at my data, with a significance level of .05, we would opt to reject the null hypothesis because our level of significance is at .063. Since we can conclude at this point that our data is statistically insignificant at this level, this would mean that our variables would, therefore, be dependent on each other. In other words, this means that one’s belief in spanking their children would decide on your marital status.

For example, if I had a girlfriend who did not believe in spanking children, and I did, she may not want to marry me due to the fact that I see spanking children as a way of punishment. However, if I evaluate my data at a significant level of 0.1, then that means that I would fail to reject my null hypothesis and prove that the variables are independent of each other. This would mean that whether or not I believe in spanking my children has no effect (or does not correlate) with my marital status.

Both sides could equally be argued, but just for the sake of picking a side, I would choose the standard significance level of .05. The only bias that I could expect is the people who were spanked while they were growing up. Those who were spanked growing up would most likely want their children spanked as well because it is what they went through as a child.

Survey: Spanking Beliefs Among Adults

The table outputs show those who favor corporal punishment based on their marital status. The categories are nominal and go as follows in regard to spanking children: those who strongly agree, those who just agree, those who disagree, and those who strongly disagree with spanking their children.

For my table output, there were many surprising signs that I noted. To begin with, in my cross-tabulation of statistics, I saw that the majority of my population sample came from respondents who were either married, single, or divorced. This can be found on my cross-tabulation table. Those whose marital status was listed as widowed or separated accounted for a small proportion of my data. The choices for the respondents were to strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree. To make things simpler, I decided to break the variables in to agree or disagree. For those who were in favor of spanking their children as a form of disciplinary action, they accounted for 690 out of 958 respondents.

This means that 72% of the respondents were in favor of spanking children, while 28% were against it. Now, going to my chi-square table, my Pearson coefficient value was 20.213. With this being said, if you look at my table, you can see that my degrees of freedom are 12. Since we chose to have our level of significance at 5%, our reject region is at 21.026, meaning that since we are not in the reject region, we will opt to fail to reject the null hypothesis. Therefore, this means that our variables are independent of each other at a 5% level of significance overall.

Probing Statistical Significance Levels

Also, if you look at my graph of Phi and Cramer’s V, you will see that the approximate significance is at .063. Because of this, since it is over .05 (barely), we can conclude that our data is not statistically significant. However, like I said before, this is marginal. If our level of significance was at 0.10 as opposed to 0.05, then we could conclude that our data would be statistically significant. Lastly, by looking at my Phi and Cramer’s V chart, you can see that my Phi value is .145, and my Cramer’s V value is .084. Since both of these values are less than one, it displays to the audience that our correlation is very weak.

Deciphering Weak Correlations in Data

The reason that our model could be classified as weak is because it is marginal. What I mean when I say this is that since we are evaluating at a .05 level of significance, we barely make the cut by just being over .05. However, when evaluating at a .10 significance level, it would prove the opposite and show that our data is statistically significant and that the variables were dependent upon each other. I believe that my model does fit to a certain extent because, in my model, my alpha and beta values, when interpreted in the graph, are both linear. On top of this, when looking at our sample data, I can tell that all of our data points come from the same population process, which means that our data is completely randomized and independent of each other.

In addition to my data, the expectation of my error term in the population, given my x term, which is adults who believe in spanking their children, is equivalent to zero. To assess this further to my data, if I know that a parent believes in spanking their children as a form of punishment, then that does not mean that I will be able to predict whether it is above or below the population regression line. Altogether, from my research on whether adults favor spanking their children as disciplinary action based on their marital status, I can conclude that parents who favor spanking their children as punishment are independent of their marital status.


  1. Anderson, T.J. (2019). The Evolution of Corporal Punishment in the U.S. New York: Pineapple Press.
  2. Brooks, L. & Harrison, P. (2021). Childhood Experiences and Adult Outcomes: The Impact of Physical Punishment. Journal of Child Development.
  3. Carter, M. (2018). Statistical Analysis in Social Sciences: A Comprehensive Guide. Boston: Lighthouse Academic.

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Capital Punishment and Marital Status Insights. (2023, Aug 29). Retrieved from

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