Physical discipline, escalation, and child abuse potential: Psychometric evidence for the analog parenting task

Academic Article


  • Data from three studies provide new evidence to support the validity of the Analog Parenting Task (APT) as an instrument to assess risk for harsh, physically aggressive parenting. In this series of studies, there was a strong association between APT scores of expected use and escalation of discipline strategies and self-reported disciplinary attitudes. APT scores were also associated with physical abuse potential as assessed by both a well-established measure of child abuse potential (Child Abuse Potential Inventory) and another instrument designed specifically for use in pre-parent populations (e.g., Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory-2). This study provides new psychometric evidence to support the use of the APT to assess harsh parenting. Additionally, these data highlight the connection between acceptance and use of physical disciplinary strategies, propensity for disciplinary escalation, and risk for abuse perpetration. The findings are discussed in the context of Milner's Social Information Processing model [Milner, 2003] of abuse, which suggests that parental selection of disciplinary responding and the monitoring of disciplinary responding are key events in the disciplinary process. The APT may prove a useful adjunct to more commonly used self-report measures to allow for multimethod assessment of risk for punitive parenting. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Russa MB; Rodriguez CM
  • Start Page

  • 251
  • End Page

  • 260
  • Volume

  • 36
  • Issue

  • 4