Family

Study Proves Spanking Causes Lifelong Mental Health Issues

New studies have revealed that spanking your children could affect them for the rest of their lives.

Conducted at the University of Texas and University of Michigan, evidence shows that spanking can cause mental health issues, causing permanent social and developmental problems.

The study took place over 50 years and looked at the affects of spanking on 160,000 children. For the purposes of the study, spanking was defined as "an open-handed hit on the behind or extremities."

"Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors," study author Elizabeth Gershoff, an associate professor of human development and family sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, said in a news release. "We found that spanking was associated with unintended detrimental outcomes, and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance, which are parents' intended outcomes when they discipline their children."

Elizabeth Gershoff, study author

The study found that children who are spanked more frequently have an increased risk of developing anti-social and aggressive behaviors. They are also more likely to use physical punishment towards their own children.

"Spanking thus does the opposite of what parents usually want it to do," co-author Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work, said in the news release.

Andrew Grogan-Kayalor, co-author of the study

The research showed there were actually no positive behavioral effects in children who are spanked, and in fact the outcomes are similar to those of physical abuse.

"We as a society think of spanking and physical abuse as distinct behaviors," Gershoff says. "Yet our research shows that spanking is linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree."

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