Presidential Scholars Theses (1990 – 2006)


Open Access Presidential Scholars Thesis

First Advisor

B. Keith Crew, Advisor

Second Advisor

Joe Gorton, Advisor


Corporal punishment--Public opinion;


The purpose of this study is to examine intergenerational differences regarding corporal punishment of criminal offenders, particularly preferential differences that occur between members of the Baby Boom and Echo-Baby Boom generations. This research is of interest due to America 's changing culture. The children of Baby Roomers see fewer acts and practices as sinful and morally wrong than do their parents, and our research examines if similar changes occurred in the criminal justice system in response to how offenders should be punished. No studies currently exist which examine this issue, and this research will create awareness in the discipline of criminology. To investigate these preferences, we administered a survey instrument to members of both generations in the spring of 2003. Members of the Baby Boom generation completed the survey at Spring Commencement at the University of Northern Iowa while members of the Echo-Baby Boom generation filled out the survey in selected Liberal Arts Core classes at the university.

The survey, designed to measure preferences toward corporal punishment, included several crime scenarios where the respondent picked either a corporal or non-corporal sanc;tion for the offender. Other questions focused on topics such as support fof the death penalty, surgical castration, and corporal punishment in general. Chi Squares were used to analyze the differences between the two ; generations and · initially failed to reveal statistically significant results. Logistic regression models were employed in order to further analyze generational differences as well as the impact of other variables such as race, education, and social class which may impact preferences. Although few statistically significant differences were identified, this lack of variation can partially be attributed to the homogenous nature of Iowa's population. Even with limited significant findings, this research provides insight regarding preferential differences of corporal punishment and cultural change.

Date of Award



Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

Presidential Scholar Designation

A paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation Presidential Scholar


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (50 pages)

Date Digital



©2004 Allison Deutsch, Molly Movall, Christine Van Berkum





File Format


Included in

Criminology Commons