January 2011



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MONDAY BRIEFS: Quick mussing on child related research.

Editor’s note: Monday’s briefs are usually brief posts, but the topic today resulted in a longer than usual philosophical discussion of corporal punishment.

The most recent issue of the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics included a report on the use of physical violence as a form of discipline (aka “spanking”) and its relation to intimate partner violence. The study examined a large sample of close to 2,000 families participating in a nationally representative study of families across the USA. The authors were interested in examining whether the use of spanking in 3 year old children was associated with physical violence between the parents.

The results were not surprising:

1. 65% of 3-year-old children are spanked at least once by their parents during the previous month.

2. The odds of using physical punishment doubled in households where parents used aggression against each other. This is not surprising, since physical punishment is a form of interpersonal aggression.

3. Maternal stress significantly increased the odds of using physical punishment. This is also not surprising since physical punishment is more likely to be used by parents who are angry.

4. Maternal depression significantly increased the odds of using physical punishment.

5. The odds using of physical punishment were not associated with maternal education, but when the father had a college degree, both the father and the mother were significantly less likely to use physical punishment. I am curious to hear my readers thoughts on this interesting finding.

The authors concluded (CP = Corporal Punishment; IPAV = Intimate Partner Violence):

Despite American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations against the use of CP, CP use remains common in the United States. CP prevention efforts should carefully consider assumptions made about patterns of co-occurring aggression in families, given that adult victims of IPAV, including even minor, non physical aggression between parents, have increased odds of using CP with their children.

Yes, the American Academy of Pediatrics unequivocally recommends against the use of aggression as a discipline method. Why? Because the research on physical punishment is clear: It is unnecessary and is associated with a long list of NEGATIVE consequences. For example, although proponents of “spanking” argue that if you don’t spank, the child will not learn to behave properly, the research actually suggests the opposite. Children who are spanked, when compared to their non-spanked peers, are, among many others:

1. more likely to use aggression against their peers
2. less likely to internalize rules
3. more likely to engage in criminal activity during adolescence
4. more likely to engage in domestic abuse as adults
5. more likely to suffer from depression
and on and on and on.

For those who want to read more about the science behind the negative effects of corporal punishment, visit the research library of Project No Spank; http://nospank.net/resrch.htm

Read in Full:  http://www.child-psych.org/2010/09/spanking-in-the-usa-a-sad-state-of-affairs-and-why-spanking-is-never-ok.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ChildPyschologyAndParentingResearch+(Child+Pyschology+and+Parenting+Research)

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