Monday, July 16, 2012

Spanking May Leave Long-lasting Psychological Scars

In a study based on a nationally representative sample of Americans, harsh physical punishment such as spanking or hitting during childhood was associated with an increased odds of having a lifetime diagnosis of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug abuse/dependence, and several personality disorders. The results remained firm even after possibly confounding factors such as socioeconomic factors and more severe child maltreatment such as severe physical or sexual abuse were considered. The study was headed by Tracie Afifi, Ph.D., of the University of Manitoba in Canada. The results were published July 2 in Pediatrics.

One key finding from the study, which the researchers said was "surprising," was that parents with a higher educational or income level were more likely to spank, slap, or hit their children than were parents with a lower educational or income level.

In addition, other researchers who have studied the issue of spanking and other parental behaviors have found that depressed fathers are more likely to spank their children than are nondepressed fathers. For more information about this study see Psychiatric News .

(Image: Bronwyn Photo/


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