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Background: Physical punishment in Iran may partly take other forms than in Western countries. This fact has been studied to a relatively small extent so far.
Methods: Data from 1244 young adolescents (649 boys, 595 girls; M age=12.7 yrs, SD=2.1 yrs) was collected in two cities, Mashad and Eylam, in both public and private schools (totaling 24 schools) in Iran. Whether the pupils reported having been exposed to extreme forms of physical punishment (EPP) by parents, such as burning of hands, and breaking of bones, was investigated and served as independent variables in MANOVAs with various types of aggression and victimization in school settings as dependent variables.
Results: Participants who had had their hands burnt (6.5% of respondents), and bones broken (4.9%) as punishment scored significantly higher on both perpetration of and victimization to almost all types of aggressive behavior at school. Notably, EPP had strong associations with the most severe forms of school aggression measured in the study, i.e. threatening (and, respectively, being threatened by) another pupil with a knife or a chain.
Discussion: Results indicate that EPP does indeed occur in Iran, in this sample it had been experienced by about 1/20 of respondents, and it was associated with both perpetration of and victimization to aggressive behaviors. Suggestion for future research: possible intervening variables between EPP and aggression and victimization in school settings need to be investigated further.