This study explores the likelihood of Arab kindergarten teachers from Israel using corporal punishment with children who misbehave while in their care. The study focuses on teachers' characteristics, child-staff ratio, and the quality of parent-teacher relationships, in order to expand our understanding of the mechanisms underlying disciplinary choices. A stratified sample method was used to design a representative sample of Arab kindergarten teachers in Israel. Anonymous, structured, self-report questionnaires were completed by 86 kindergarten teachers who mailed them back to the researchers in sealed envelopes. More than a quarter of the teachers (27.9 %) reported that they are likely to use at least one of the corporal punishment acts listed in the questionnaire with children when they misbehave. The parent-teacher relationship was associated negatively with teachers' use of corporal punishment. Greater religiosity and stronger attitudes supporting the use of corporal punishment to handle behavioral problems were associated with more reports of kindergarten teachers being likely to use corporal punishment. The relationship between religiosity and use of corporal punishment was mediated by teachers' favorable attitudes towards the use of corporal punishment to discipline children. Future research should be conducted to investigate additional teacher, child, and kindergarten factors that might help predicting victimization of kindergarten children by their teachers.
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Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank the many kindergarten teachers and supervisors who generously gave their time and support to make this study possible. The study was supported by a research grant from the Anita Morawetz Fund for Research on Children at Risk.
- Corporal punishment
- Kindergarten teachers
- Parent-teacher partnership