McMillan of McMaster University
in Hamilton, ON Canada led a
team which studied the possible association between childhood spanking
subsequent behavior problems in adulthood. 3
study on data collected as part of a 1990 population health survey by
Ministry of Health
of 10,000 adults in the province. Five thousand
subjects had been asked questions about spanking during childhood.
previous studies, the researchers deleted from the sample group anyone
recalled being physically or sexually abused. This left adults who
only been spanked and/or slapped during childhood. Incidences of adult
disorder included illicit drug abuse, addictions & antisocial
abuse or addiction
than one disorder *
Their results were published in the Canadian
for 1995-OCT. 4
They reported that
appears to be a linear association between the frequency of slapping
spanking during childhood and a lifetime prevalence of anxiety
alcohol abuse or dependence and externalizing problems." http://www.nospank.net/adctn.htm
Taking part in
survey were: 200 psychologists who filled out anonymous questionnaires,
college students at the University of California, Davis and California
University at Fresno, 52 slow track underachievers at Richmond High
Delinquents were interviewed by Dr. Ralph Welsh in Bridgeport,
by Dr. Alan Button in Fresno, California. Prisoner information was by
of Hobart Banks, M.S.W., counselor of difficult prisoners at San
Penitentiary, San Quentin, California. http://www.naturalchild.org/research/corporal_punishment.html
Degree of physical punishment
at San Quentin
Seventy percent of child abuse
as spanking. http://www.extension.umn.edu/info-u/families/BE712.html
Spanking can lead to more bad behavior by children http://www.umich.edu/~urecord/0405/Sept13_04/24.shtml
A 1985 study of 1,000 families by family violence researcher Murray
found that parents inflicted nearly twice as many severe, and nearly
as many total, violent acts on their teenage children than the other
Other studies indicate Straus' findings may be
conservative. A 1988 survey of 1,146 parents found that 80 percent of
children under age 10, two-thirds of the 10-14-year-olds, and one-third
15-17 year-olds were hit or struck by their parents within the previous
Parents are nearly four times more likely to commit simple assault, and
as likely to commit severe or aggravated assault, against their teenage
children than the other way around. Two thousand to 5,000 children are
by their parents every year, with most called "accidents."52 http://nospank.net/males.htm
University of Manitoba, Canada. "Trends
in Youth Crime and Well-Being Since the Abolition of Corporal
Sweden." Youth & Society
2000 Vol. 31, No. 4, 437-455 Found that
Swedish youth have been less involved in crime, alcohol and drug use,
have lower suicide rates since the 1979 ban on spanking in Sweden. http://yas.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/31/4/437
R.C. Herrenkohl, M.J. Russo, Lehigh University,
PA. "Abusive Early Child Rearing and
Early Childhood Aggression." Child
2001 6, 3-16. This research study found
children is associated with increased aggression in those children. http://www.lehigh.edu/~insan/soc_ma/gradfac.htm
H. MacMillan, McMaster, The Canadian Centre for
Children at Risk, University in Hamilton, Ontario.
"Slapping and spanking in childhood and its association with
lifetime prevalence of psychiatric disorders in a general population
sample." Canadian Medical
, October 5, 1999; 161:805-809
This study found increased rates of drug and
alcohol problems, anxiety disorders, externalizing problems, and
among adults who had been spanked as children.
Even those who were rarely spanked showed higher levels of these
than never spanked subjects.
E. Bachar, L. Canetti, Omer Bonne, Atara Kaplan
Arieh T. Shalev, Department of Psychiatry, Hadassah University Medical
Jerusalem, Israel. "Physical punishment
and signs of mental distress in normal adolescents."
, 1997, Winter; 32(128):945-58. Greater
physical punishment was found to be
associated with increased psychiatric symptoms and lower
Allen, D. M., & Tarnowski, K. J., Department
Psychology, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. "Depressive
characteristics of physically abused children." Journal of
, 17(1), 1-11. 1989
Found that children who are hit suffer more from depression,
self-esteem, and greater hopelessness about the future.
M.A. Straus, Richard Gelles, Family Research
University of New Hampshire. "1985
National Family Violence Survey." American Family Data Archive
Volume I, 32. 1985 Found that physical violence between family members
frequent than believed. http://www.religioustolerance.org/spankin5.htm
J.D. Bremner, S.M. Southwick, D.R. Johnson, R.
D.S. Charney, National Center for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, West
Medical Center, CT. "Childhood physical
abuse and combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder in Vietnam
veterans." American Journal of
Found that Vietnam vets who were hit as children were more
experience posttraumatic stress disorder.
M.D. Haskett, J.A. Kistner, Department of
Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC.
"Social interactions and peer perceptions of young physically
children." Child Development
Oct;62(5):979-90 1991 Found that
children who are hit tend to be avoided by other children, and were
teachers as more behaviorally disturbed.
E.P. Slade, L.S. Wissow, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg
Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management, Baltimore,
MD. "Spanking in early childhood and later
behavior problems: a prospective study of infants and young
133(5):1321-30 2004 Found
that children who are spanked
frequently were substantially more likely to have behavior problems in
D.B. Bugental, G.A. Martorell, V. Barraza,
Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA.
"The hormonal costs of subtle forms of
infant maltreatment." Hormonal
, Jan;43(1):237-44 2003
Found that infants who are spanked showed high hormonal
stress, which may alter the functioning of the
(HPA) axis in ways that, if continued, may foster risk for immune
sensitization to later stress, cognitive deficits, and social-emotional
E.A. Stormshak, K.L. Bierman, R.J. McMahon, L.J.
Department of Applied Behavior and Communication Sciences, University
Oregon, Eugene, OR. "Parenting
practices and child disruptive behavior problems in early elementary
school." Journal of Clinical Child
Found that spanking and physical aggression
by parents were associated with elevated rates of all child disruptive
problems, especially aggression.
Parenting practices contribute to the prediction of oppositional
aggressive behavior problems. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=10693029
M.A. Straus, J.H. Stewart, Family Research
University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH.
"Corporal punishment by American parents: national data on
chronicity, severity, and duration, in relation to child and family
characteristics." Clinical Child and
Family Psychology Review,
June;2(2):55-70 1999 Found
children are hit more often, and more
severely, than is commonly perceived, or even recommended, by
pro-spankers. 35% of infants, and 94%
of 3-4 year olds, and over half of 12 year olds experience corporal
(slapping, spanking on the buttocks with or without an object,
M.A. Straus, V.E. Mouradian, Family Research
University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH.
"Impulsive corporal punishment by mothers and antisocial
impulsiveness of children." Behavioral
, 1998 Summer;16(3):353-74
Found that parental spanking and slapping is associated with
antisocial behavior and impulsiveness in children.
The more corporal punishment experienced by a child, the more
likely the child will engage in antisocial behavior and to act
despite high maternal nurturance. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=9768466
M.A. Straus, D.B. Sugarman, J. Giles-Sims, Family
Laboratory, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, and Texas
University, Fort Worth, TX. "Spanking
by parents and subsequent antisocial behavior of children." Pediatric
1997 Aug;151(8):761-7. Found that
children who are spanked are more aggressive 2 years later. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=9265876
M.A. Straus, M. Paschall, Family Research
Laboratory, University of New Hampshire,
NH. "Corporal punishment by mothers and
child's cognitive development: A longitudinal study."
Research on a nationally representative sample of 960 children
presented at the 14th World Congress of Sociology
Montreal, Canada, Aug.1, 1998. Spanking
found to be associated with lowered cognitive development, and lower
E.E. Whipple, C.A. Richey, School of Social Work,
State University, East Lansing, MI.
"Crossing the line from physical discipline to child abuse: how
too much?" Child Abuse and
, 1997 May;21(5):431-44
Found that "relative exposure" to spanking is positively related
greater risk for child abuse. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=9158904
Gershoff, E. T., National Center for Children in
Columbia University, New York, NY. "Corporal Punishment
by Parents and
Behaviors and Experiences: A Meta-Analytic and Theoretical Review."
2002 Jul;128(4), 539-579
Found that corporal punishment of children was related to
decreased internalization of moral rules, increased aggression, more
behavior, increased criminality, weakened parent-child relationships,
mental health outcomes, increased adult abusive behaviors, and
of being victimized in abusive relationships in adulthood.
This study is an analysis of 88 research
studies on corporal punishment of children.
J. L. Sheline, B.J. Skipper, W.E. Broadhead,
Community and Family Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham,
NC. "Risk factors for violent behavior in
elementary school boys: have you hugged your child today?"
American Journal of Public Health
1994 April;84(4):661-3 Found that
parents of violent boys were more likely than those of matched control
to use spanking for discipline. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=8154575
C.E. Joubert, University of Alabama, Florence, AL. "Antecedents
of narcissism and psychological
reactance as indicated by college students' retrospective reports of
parents' behaviors." Psychological Report
, 1992 Jun;70(3
2):1111-5 Higher psychological
reactance (feeling threatened) scores on the Narcissism Personality
and the Hong Psychological Reactance Scale correlated with more
C.E. Joubert, University of North Alabama,
AL. "Self-esteem and social
desirability in relation to college students' retrospective perceptions
parental fairness and disciplinary practices." Psychological
1991 August;69(1):115-20 College women
were found to view their parents as being less fair if they had been
them as children. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=1961778
D. Levinson, Yale University, New Haven, CT. "Physical punishment
of children and wife
beating in cross-cultural perspective."
Child Abuse and Neglect
, 1981 5: 193-195 Found that
societies in which physical
of children is rare or infrequent, the existence of wife beating is
D. Yankelovich, DYG, Inc., sponsored by Civitas,
Three, and Brio Corporation. "What Grown-Ups Understand About Child
Development: A National Benchmark Survey" written about in the New
, October 24, 2000. This
national survey of 3,000 adults found that about 60% of parents spank,
though they concede the punishment is ineffective.
M.T. Teicher, Developmental Biopsychiatry Research
McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA. "Wounds
that time won't heal: The neurobiology of child abuse." Cerebrum
vol.2, no.4:Fall 2000. Found a higher
incidence of abnormal EEG tests (measure of brain waves) in adults who
hit as children, and impaired brain development. http://www.dana.org/books/press/cerebrum/fall00/index.cfm
(scroll down to "Wounds...")
J.F. Geddes, G.H. Vowles, A.K. Hackshaw, C.D.
Scott, H.L. Whitwell, Department of Histopathology and Morbid Anatomy,
London Hospital, Whitechapel, London, UK.
"Neuropathology of inflicted head injury in children: II.
brain injury in infants." Brain
124:1299-1306 Found that babies can be injured and killed
from even mild shaking or hitting, primarily from damage to the part of
brain that controls breathing. http://brain.oupjournals.org/cgi/content/full/124/7/1299?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&andorexacttitle=and&andorexacttitleabs=and&fulltext=shaking+babies&andorexactfulltext=and&searchid=1104436255059_1533&stored_search=&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&fdate=5/1/2001&tdate=7/31/2001&journalcode=brain
M.A. Straus, Family Research Laboratory,
University of New
Hampshire, Durham, NH. "Spanking
teaches short-term lesson, but long-term violence." Project
July 24, 1999. Research of statistics
revealed that the US states that permit the most legal corporal
children are the states with the most homicides committed by
M.A. Straus, Family Research Laboratory,
University of New
Hampshire, Durham, NH. "Family Training
in Crime and Violence." Crime and
, 1985. A study of
1,000 families found that parents inflicted nearly twice as many
nearly four times as many total, violent acts on their teenage children
other way around. http://nospank.net/males.htm
L.R. Huesmann, L.D. Eron, M.M. Lefkowitz, L.O.
Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor,
MI. "The stability of aggression over time
, 1984, 20, 1120-1134. Aggressive children often
aggressive adults, who often produce more aggressive children, in a
endures generation after generation. http://nospank.net/greven.htm
D. Button, M. Katz, B. King, A. Simpson, D.
California State University, Fresno, CA.
"Some Antecedents of Felonious and Delinquent Behavior."
presented at the Western Psychological Association
April 1972. Juvenile delinquents were
found to have parents that used a lot of physical punishment. http://nospank.net/dewitt2.htm
A.A. Haeuser, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. "Swedish parents
, Spring 1992. Harsh
beatings of children are much less
common since the passage of the 1979 law against corporal punishment of
children. The law has also facilitated
earlier reporting and intervention.
Violent crimes have decreased, and adults are considerably more
optimistic about Sweden's children than a decade ago.
Few minor infractions have been reported by spiteful neighbors
children, putting to rest the speculation that such a law would create
turning minor parental infractions into government cases. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0838/is_n63/ai_12024682
M. Main, C. George, University of California,
Berkeley. "Responses of Abused and
Toddlers to Distress in Agemates." Developmental
, May 1985, p.407.
Toddlers raised with violent treatment showed no empathy to
exhibited violent behaviors to other toddlers.
T.G. Power, M.L. Chapieski, University of Houston,
TX. "Childrearing and impulse control in
toddlers: A naturalistic investigation."
, 1986 22:271-275. Toddlers
who were observed to be subject to
mild physical punishment were more likely to ignore maternal
manipulate breakable objects, and to show low levels of nonverbal
months later, than toddlers who were not hit.
P.M. Bays, C.D. Frith, S.S. Shergill, D. Wolpert,
College London, England; and Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny
London, England. "Two Eyes for an Eye: The Neuroscience of Force
Vol.301, Issue 5630, 187, 11 July 2003.
Test subjects were found to increase levels of physical pushing
an average of 38% each turn, when asked to return, in equal force, the
they received from their partners.
People are not good judges of how much physical force they are
typically using significantly more force than they believe they are
G. Margolin, E.B. Gordis, Department of
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.
"The effects of family and community violence on children." Annual
Review of Psychology
, 2000 Vol.51:445-479.
Children's exposure to violence can disrupt typical
trajectories through psychobiological effects, posttraumatic stress
(PTSD), cognitive consequences, and peer problems.
A.M. Graziano, J.L. Hamblen, W.A. Plante,
Psychology, State University of New York at Buffalo, NY.
"Subabusive violence in child rearing in
middle-class American families." Pediatrics
Oct. 1996; 98:845-848 Found that 85% of
parents surveyed expressed moderate to high anger, remorse, and
administering corporal punishment to their children, and say they would
not spank if they had an alternative in which they believed. This
refutes the common admonishment to
parents to refrain from spanking in anger. http://www.nospank.net/aap.htm
1-800-422-4633 or 1-888-463-6874 to order an
"Spanking... increases the rate of
street entries by children", wrote Dr. Dennis Embry in a letter to Children
Since 1977 I have been heading up the only long-term project
counteract pedestrian accidents to preschool-aged children.
getting struck by a car is about the third leading cause of death to
children in the United States.)
Actual observation of parents and children shows that spanking,
reprimanding and nagging INCREASES the rate of street entries by
Children use going into the street as a near-perfect way to gain
Now there is a promising new educational intervention program,
Safe Playing. The underlying principles of the program are simple:
Define safe boundaries in a POSITIVE way. 'Safe
players play on the grass or sidewalk.'
These three principles have an almost instant effect on
play. We have observed children who had been spanked many times a day
into the street, yet they continued to do it. The moment the family
stickers and praise for safe play, the children stopped going into the
2. Give stickers for safe play. That makes it more fun than
3. Praise your child for safe play.
Robert E. Larzelere is
of research at Boys Town, NE, and a skeptic of the anti-spanking
analyzed what he considered to be the eight strongest studies of
punishment (CP). 8
He found that they showed that
and other forms of violence short of actual abuse had "beneficial
." However, the study seems almost without value when
Other helpful links:
of the eight studies measured only the child's short term compliance to
the parent's request. There is probably a consensus among therapists,
child psychologists, researchers and parents that spanking does make
the child behave, at least for a little while. What these studies did
not examine are the long-term effects of spanking observed by other
studies: increasing non-compliance by the child, increased anti-social
behavior with other children, and long range emotional and addictive
problems as an adult. It is worth noting that in five of the seven
cases, the effectiveness of spanking was compared to alternative
methods of discipline. Spanking offered no advantages.
eighth study did show long-term beneficial results from spanking.
However it dealt only with a single child who had a severe conduct
disorder, and who might be suffering from schizophrenia. Thus, one
cannot extrapolate the study's results to the general population of
children. In addition, most of the study dealt with training the mother
to reinforce the child's positive behaviors and to be more confident
and consistent in issuing commands to the child. One might speculate
that an equivalent or even better beneficial result might have been
observed if the spanking were replaced by an alternative form of