Looking at data collected in the early 2000s, the study reveals that a decade later such children have behavior problems. Not only did behabvior become a problem, but spanked children also had lower vocabulary skills, as reported in a Reuters story today
“Think spanking will help teach an out of control child to stay in line? A new study suggests the opposite may be true. Researchers found kids who were spanked as five-year-olds were slightly more likely to be aggressive and break rules later in elementary school. Those results are in keeping with past research, said Elizabeth Gershoff. She studies parental discipline and its effects at the University of Texas at Austin. “There’s just no evidence that spanking is good for kids,” she told Reuters Health.
“Spanking models aggression as a way of solving problems, that you can hit people and get what you want,” Gershoff, who wasn’t involved in the new study, said. “When (children) want another kid’s toy, the parents haven’t taught them how to use their words or how to negotiate.” Despite mounting evidence on the harms tied to spanking, it is “still a very typical experience” for U.S. children, the study’s lead author said. “Most kids experience spanking at least some point in time,” Michael MacKenzie, from Columbia University in New York, said. “So there’s this disconnect.” His team used data from a long-term study of children born in one of 20 U.S. cities between 1998 and 2000. The new report includes about 1,900 kids. Researchers surveyed parents when children were three and five years old about whether and how often they spanked their child. Then they asked mothers about their kid’s behavior problems and gave the children a vocabulary test at age nine. Continue reading “Spanking and adolescent aggression”