Is spanking associated with subsequent aggressive behavior?

January 01, 0001

Is spanking associated with subsequent aggressive behavior?

These US researchers examined the association of corporal punishment (CP) in young children with subsequent aggressive behavior. The performed a survey of participants the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study (1998-2005), a population-based, birth cohort study of children born in 20 large US cities Respondents yielding 2461 respondents. The survey assessed maternal reports of CP, children's aggressive behaviors at 3 and 5 years of age, and other demographic features and potential confounding factors, including maternal child physical maltreatment, psychological maltreatment, and neglect, intimate partner aggression victimization, stress, depression, and substance use.

The authors report: "Frequent use of CP (ie, mother's use of spanking more than twice in the previous month) when the child was 3 years of age was associated with increased risk for higher levels of child aggression when the child was 5 years of age (adjusted odds ratio: 1.49), even with controlling for the child's level of aggression at age 3 and the aforementioned potential confounding factors and key demographic features."

The authors concluded: "Despite American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations to the contrary, most parents in the United States approve of and have used CP as a form of child discipline. The current findings suggest that even forms of CP, such as spanking, increase risk for increased child aggressive behavior. Importantly, these findings cannot be attributed to possible confounding effects of a host of other maternal parenting risk factors."

These study provides further evidence of risks of use of spanking and corporal punishment in young children.

For the full abstract, click here.

Pediatrics 125 (5): e1057-e1065, May 2010
© 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics
Mothers' Spanking of 3-Year-Old Children and Subsequent Risk of Children's Aggressive Behavior. Catherine A. Taylor, Jennifer A. Manganello, Shawna J. Lee, and Janet C. Rice.

Category: P. Psychological. Keywords: corporal punishment, child discipline, spanking, aggression, Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study, cohort study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 15 June 2010

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