The presenting problem in this thesis is the attitudes South African women have towards corporal punishment, how they use corporal punishment, and how attitude and behaviour correlate. The thesis is based on an independent study, where semi-structured qualitativeinterviews were utilized to gain more insight into the presented problem. The analysis was rooted in previous research on corporal punishment, the South African context, and in theoryregarding attitudes.
The study consisted of five women between the ages of 30-40 years old. They where all black, Xhosa-speaking, had a low socio-economic status, with a maximum of 9 years education. They all lived in a township outside Cape Town. Four of the five participants had children, one did not.
Through the analysis of the interviews four topics came forward that appear important regarding corporal punishment in South Africa. Firstly, it seems essential that a clear definition of corporal punishment is established, as the participants in this study bothexpressed contradicting attitudes and behaviour, depending on age of the child and severity of the corporal punishment. Secondly, there was sometimes a discrepancy between attitude and behaviour among the participants. This discrepancy indicate that attitude towards, and use of, corporal punishment appear to present itself somewhat independently. This would be important to consider in work regarding abandonment of corporal punishment. Variance within the group became apparent as a third theme, both regarding attitude and behaviour.Even if the group of participants shared a number of variables believed to influence use and attitude towards corporal punishment, they still differed both in attitude and use of corporal punishment, proposing a need to not pre-assume similarities. Level of reflection, as the fourth theme, appeared to correlate with frequency and severity levels of corporal punishment among the participants.