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Parenting and physical punishment: primary care interventions in Latin America Translated title: Los padres y el castigo corporal: intervenciones de atención primaria en América Latina

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      Abstract

      Physical punishment is a form of intrafamilial violence associated with short- and long-term adverse mental health outcomes. Despite these possible consequences, it is among the most common forms of violent interpersonal behavior. For many children it begins within the first year of life. The goal of this study was to determine the feasibility of involving public sector primary health care providers to inform parents about alternatives to physical punishment. The study used a qualitative design utilizing focus groups and survey questionnaires with parents and providers at six clinic sites chosen to be representative of public sector practice settings in Costa Rica and in metropolitan Santiago, Chile. The data were collected during 1998 and 1999. In the focus groups and surveys the parents voiced a range of opinions about physical punishment. Most acknowledged its common use but listed it among their least preferred means of discipline. Frequency of its use correlated positively with the parents' belief in its effectiveness and inversely with their satisfaction with their children's behavior. Some parents wanted to learn more about discipline; others wanted help with life stresses they felt led them to use physical punishment. Parents reported they chose other family members more frequently as a source of parenting information than they did health care providers. Some parents saw providers as too rushed and not knowledgeable enough to give good advice. Providers, in turn, felt ill equipped to handle parents' questions, but many of the health professionals expressed interest in more training. Parents and providers agreed that problems of time, space, and resources were barriers to talking about child discipline in the clinics. Many parents and providers would welcome a primary-care-based program on physical punishment. Such a program would need to be customized to accommodate local differences in parent and provider attitudes and in clinic organization. Health care professionals need more training in child discipline and in the skills required to interact with parents on issues relating to child behavior.

      Translated abstract

      El castigo corporal representa una forma de violencia que acarrea consecuencias mentales adversas en el corto y largo plazo. No obstante, es una de las formas más frecuentes de violencia personal y en muchos casos comienza cuando el niño aún no ha cumplido un año de edad. El objetivo del presente estudio fue determinar la factibilidad de utilizar a proveedores de atención primaria del sector público para explicar a los padres que hay otras opciones diferentes del castigo corporal. El estudio tuvo un diseño cualitativo y se valió de grupos de enfoque y formularios de encuesta para padres y proveedores de atención en seis centros ambulatorios que fueron elegidos como muestra representativa de los consultorios públicos de Costa Rica y de la zona metropolitana de Santiago, Chile. Los datos se recolectaron en 1998 y 1999. En los grupos de enfoque y las encuestas los padres expresaron diferentes opiniones sobre el castigo corporal. La mayoría reconocieron que la práctica estaba difundida, pero la colocaron en la lista de conductas punitivas que menos les gustaban. Su frecuencia mostró una correlación positiva con la creencia en su efectividad por parte de los padres y una correlación inversa con la satisfacción de los padres con la conducta de sus hijos. Algunos padres querían aprender más acerca de las formas de disciplinar a los hijos; otros querían que se les ayudara a sobrellevar las presiones de la vida que, según ellos, los hacían recurrir al castigo corporal. Los padres dijeron haber acudido a otros miembros de la familia como fuentes de información sobre la disciplina de los hijos con mayor frecuencia que a proveedores de atención de salud. A algunos padres les parecía que estos proveedores siempre andaban con demasiada prisa y que no poseían conocimientos suficientes para darles buenos consejos. Por otra parte, los proveedores de atención se sentían poco preparados para contestar las preguntas de los padres, pero muchos expresaron el deseo de recibir capacitación adicional. Tanto los padres como los proveedores de servicios estuvieron de acuerdo en que las limitaciones de tiempo, espacio y recursos planteaban barreras que impedían que se hablara del castigo de los hijos en el consultorio. A muchos padres y proveedores les gustaría que se creara un programa sobre el castigo corporal en el contexto de la atención primaria. Un programa de esa naturaleza tendría que adaptarse a las diferencias locales en cuanto a las actitudes de los padres y el personal y a la organización de los consultorios. Los proveedores de atención de salud necesitan un mayor adiestramiento sobre la disciplina de los niños y deben adquirir las habilidades indispensables para comunicarse con los padres sobre la conducta de sus hijos.

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      Most cited references 39

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      Mechanisms in the cycle of violence.

      Two questions concerning the effect of physical abuse in early childhood on the child's development of aggressive behavior are the focus of this article. The first is whether abuse per se has deleterious effects. In earlier studies, in which samples were nonrepresentative and family ecological factors (such as poverty, marital violence, and family instability) and child biological variables (such as early health problems and temperament) were ignored, findings have been ambiguous. Results from a prospective study of a representative sample of 309 children indicated that physical abuse is indeed a risk factor for later aggressive behavior even when the other ecological and biological factors are known. The second question concerns the processes by which antisocial development occurs in abused children. Abused children tended to acquire deviant patterns of processing social information, and these may mediate the development of aggressive behavior.
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        Spanking in the home and children's subsequent aggression toward kindergarten peers

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          The "five minute" consultation: effect of time constraint on clinical content and patient satisfaction.

          An experiment was carried out in which patients who were seeking appointments for a consultation in a general practice in south London attended consulting sessions booked at 5, 7.5, or 10 minute intervals. The particular session that the patient attended was determined non-systematically. The clinical content of the consultation was recorded on an encounter sheet and on audio-tape. At the end of each consultation patients were invited to complete a questionnaire designed to measure satisfaction with the consultation. The stress engendered in doctors carrying out surgery sessions booked at different intervals of time was also measured. At surgery sessions booked at 5 minute intervals, compared with 7.5 and 10 minute intervals, the doctors spent less time with the patients and identified fewer problems, and the patients were less satisfied with the consultation. Blood pressure was recorded twice as often in surgery sessions that were booked at 10 minute intervals compared with those booked at 5 minute intervals. There was no evidence that patients who attended sessions booked at shorter intervals received more prescriptions, were investigated or referred more often to hospital specialists, or returned more often for further consultations within four weeks. There was no evidence that the doctors experienced more stress in dealing with consultations that were booked at 5 minute intervals than at consultations booked at 7.5 and 10 minute intervals, though they complained of shortage of time more often in surgery sessions that were booked at shorter intervals.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ] Ministerio de Salud Peru
            [2 ] Hospital CIMA-San José Costa Rica
            [3 ] Johns Hopkins University USA
            [4 ] Universidad Del Valle Colombia
            [5 ] Ministry of Health Jamaica
            [6 ] Pan American Health Organization USA
            Contributors
            Role: ND
            Role: ND
            Role: ND
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            Journal
            rpsp
            Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
            Rev Panam Salud Publica
            Organización Panamericana de la Salud (Washington )
            1020-4989
            October 2000
            : 8
            : 4
            : 257-267
            S1020-49892000000900005 10.1590/s1020-49892000000900005

            http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

            Product
            Product Information: SciELO Public Health
            Categories
            Health Policy & Services

            Public health

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