Spanking connected to mental illness


It’s no secret that the American Academy of Pediatrics frowns on spanking and other forms of corporeal punishment. A new study now connects spanking with future mental health disorders although it fails to show a causal relationship.

Spanked, slapped or hit increases risk

The study finds that children who are spanked, slapped, hit or even pushed have an increased risk of mental illness in the future. The effects are broad ranging from mood and anxiety disorders to drug and alcohol abuse.

Physical punishment not physical abuse

“There is a significant link between the two… Individuals who are physically punished have an increased likelihood of having mental health disorders… [the study’s findings confirm that] physical punishment should not be used on any child, at any age,” wrote Tracie Afifi, an assistant professor of epidemiology in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba, Canada.

This study specifically looked at physical forms of punishment as a disciplinary tool as opposed to physical abuse or sexual abuse.

Critics aren’t buying it

The study has found its critics. “Certainly, overly severe physical punishment is going to have adverse effects on children… But for younger kids, if spanking is used in the most appropriate way and the child perceives it as being motivated by concern for their behavior and welfare, then I don’t think it has a detrimental effect,” stated Robert Larzelere of Oklahoma State University. Larzelere’s own 2005 study showed that light spanking used in conjunction with a stern talk discussing the bad behavior served to reinforce non-compliant behavior very effectively.

He further criticized the report for not finding out the source of the mental illness and determining whether or not the abuse was actually causal.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, USA Today, Pediatrics


This information is solely for informational and educational purposes only. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, family planning, child psychology, marriage counseling and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care or mental health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of or the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, application of medication or any other action involving the care of yourself or any family members which results from reading this site. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Additional information contained in our Legal Statement

What does your weekly dinner look like?
The whole family dines together at home
The whole family dines together at a restaurant
Parents and children eat separately
Whoever is around eats together
Every family member for themselves!
Total votes: 5755