Spanking Is Linked to Dating Violence Later in Life, According to a New Study
Among controversial discipline techniques, corporal punishment may very well be #1. According to the University of Chicago‘s General Social Survey (GSS), which asks respondents, “Do you strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree that it is sometimes necessary to discipline a child with a good, hard spanking?" around 70% of parents in support of the practice. At the same time, many parents feel it's a huge no-no. Now, researchers are warning against spanking, noting that it may increase your child's likelihood of acting violently toward a romantic partner later in life.
The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, involved asking 758 young adults between 19 and 20 years old how often they were physically punished with spankings, slappings or beatings involving objects. 68% said they received punishment along these lines, and 19% said they had acted violently in a dating relationship. The lead author of the study, Jeff Temple of the University of Texas Medical Branch, explained to CNN of the findings, "Kids who said they had experienced corporal punishment were more likely to have recently committed dating violence," Temple told CNN.
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This was the case across the board in the study group, regardless of sex, age, ethnicity, and status. "One of the advantages of our study was to control for child abuse, which we defined as being hit with a belt or board, left with bruises that were noticeable or going to the doctor or hospital," Temple, who specializes in dating, or relationship, violence told CNN. "Regardless of whether someone experienced child abuse or not, spanking alone was predictive of dating violence."
Researchers are careful to note that there are other factors that may lead a young adult to incite dating violence -- like mental health, substance abuse, and attitudes toward women. But a history of corporal punishment weighs in, too. "Corporal punishment is communicating to children that violence is an acceptable means of changing behavior," Temple explained in a statement.
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The bottom-line, according to Temple? "Not only is this an ineffective strategy for changing behavior or resolving conflict, our study and other research show that physical punishment negatively impacts the short and long-term health and behavior of children."
As a professional in the field, also having expertise in social research, I have to say this is a flawed, very poorly designed and executed study. For one, their specific definition of child abuse ( "defined as being hit with a belt or board, left visible bruises, going to a doctor or hospital") demonstrates significant misunderstanding about the nature of child abuse. Therefore, they did not "control for child abuse" which includes many forms of corporal punishment, emotional and verbal abuse, explosive tirades, gross neglect, physical abuse from a sibling and much more. I believe it would be helpful if articles published explored this subject more in depth and simultaneously offered readers information about ways to raise children who grow up to be healthy and strong in compassion, kindness, good communication, coping and problem-solving skills.Read More