Spanking Your Kids Could Leave a Permanent Psychological Mark

Illustration for article titled Spanking Your Kids Could Leave a Permanent Psychological Mark

Forget "spare the rod, spoil the child" — research shows that experiencing spanking, slapping, and hitting as a kid leads to an increased risk of mental disorders as an adult.

Researchers at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg asked survey participants — the final sample included over 20,000 people — how often they were "pushed, grabbed, shoved, slapped or hit by your parents or any adult living in your house" while growing up. The 5.9 percent of people who said they had experienced some form of the above were more likely to be male, black, and have a family history of dysfunction.

The people who said "sometimes" or higher were defined as experiencing harsh physical punishment, and researchers found their past trauma was linked to "most lifetime Axis I mental disorders":

The risk of major depression was 41 percent higher;

The risk of mania was 93 percent higher;

The risk of any mood disorder was 49 percent higher;

The risk of any anxiety disorder was 36 percent higher;

The risk of any alcohol abuse or dependence was 59 percent higher;

The risk of any drug abuse or dependence was 53 percent higher.

Sad. Let's all go hug our kids, or our friend's kids, or at the very least watch adorable YouTube videos of kids and remember that the children are our future, etc.


Spanking Kids Leads to Adult Mental Illnesses [ABC News]

Image via Suzanne Tucker/Shutterstock.

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Aaargh before I even scrolled down here I just *knew* there would be a load of comments about "well shucks I got spanked and I turned out just fine!" Most kids with authoritative parents who spanked turned out "just fine" in the sense that they are capable and proficient adults. But decades of research shows that while these adult children may appear (and claim to be) "just fine" they are far more likely to have problem behaviors and psychosocial issues.

Just because you think you turned out a-ok after a childhood full of ass-whoopins doesn't mean you can reject what decades of developmental psych has proven.

see: Baumrind—most of her research since the late 60s, Condry & Simon 1974, Strage & Brandt 1999 study about college performance and authoritarian parenting, and many many more