Study: Spanking makes kids behave badly later in life

Published On: Oct 21 2013 09:05:09 AM EDT

Study reveals children who are spanked more likely to be aggressive later in life.


A lot of adults remember - and have told stories - about getting spanked for bad behavior when they were kids. A new study, however, has found that spanking when used as a punishment could do more harm than good.

The research, published in Monday's edition of 'Pediatrics' found that kids who were spanked at 5-years-old were at a higher risk of being aggressive in school.

The study looked at nearly 1,900 children born between 1998 and 2000. To collect information about the prevalence of spanking, the researchers interviewed parents with kids ages three to five.

It was found that spanking was more prevalent at age three than age five. Fathers and mothers reported spanking their children at age three (57 percent, 40 percent respectively) and five (52 percent and 33 percent respectively).

At age nine, the children gave vocabulary tests and parents provided information about their children's behavioral problems. Researchers found that spanking at age five, contributed to problem in behavior at age nine. Apart from that, children who were regularly spanked by their fathers at age five, performed worse on vocabulary tests- nearly four points lower in scores than children who were not spanked, Reuters Health reported.

However, experts dismissed the theory that lower score in vocabulary may be caused entirely by spanking. "I don't think that spanking makes kids stupider," Elizabeth Gershoff, who studies parental discipline and its effects at the University of Texas at Austin, told Reuters.


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