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Study: Spanking spurs violence

New study lays out a connection between spanking, aggression, anxiety and depression, so examine your actions carefully

By Christine L. Chen Jan 9, 2013 9:44PM

There are few topics that spark controversial discussion more than politics. Here’s one, though: spanking children. If just the topic of spanking makes you tense, consider what a new study  is saying about the act of spanking.

According to researchers, if you spank kids under the age of 1, you’ll have a hitting, screaming, tantrum-prone kid by the age of three. By age five, your kid will have fully identifiable depression and/or anxiety.

There’s a specific relationship between the two: Spanking at age 1 produces greater aggressive behavior, which eventually becomes depressive behavior. “Prior research had indicated that spanking was related to each type of child behavior ,” University of Wisconsin’s Andrea Gromoske told a reporter. "It turned out that spanking was directly related to future aggressive behaviors.”

Many people are pretty quick to nod their heads when asked whether video game violence leads to real violence, and the question of mental health looms large when the country grieves over events such as the Newtown, Conn. school shootings. In adults, depression and anxiety are widely known to manifest as anger and violence. But what if researchers hit the nail on the head… that the seed of violence of any kind by adults could be planted even earlier than we thought, through parental disciplinary action that molds a child’s psyche pretty much right after birth? Should we reshape our views on discipline in the name of anti-violence?

Like many controversial topics, the answer depends on whom you ask. The jury on spanking is – clearly – still out. In some studies, parental polling shows that nine out of 10 parents think a “good swat on the behind” is fine, while others polls show parents believe strongly in a “good hard spanking” every now and then. Officially, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no spanking, but  a three-step approach to discipline instead.

Many child behavior experts suggest reinforcing positive behaviors and providing structure and routine. Time-outs for toddlers are highly recommended by several child psychologists. KidsHealth.org believes in communicating the connection between behavior and consequence at ages 3 through 8.

One big thing to remember: Kids are sponges and soak up everything from their immediate surroundings. That amazing ability to absorb a language so easily at a young age also lets them learn behaviors, both good and bad. As adults, our own behaviors are a teaching tool. Be aware that your actions – and interactions – make a strong, lasting impression on your children.

More on Healthy Living
Parents’ Social Anxiety May Raise Kids’ Risk for Anxiety Disorder
Mental Disorders Linked with Domestic Violence
With Spanking, Nature and Nurture Create More Aggression



Jan 22, 2013 3:43AM
Ice cream sales incline during the summer.
Swimming deaths incline in the summer, too.
Thus, ice cream sales are directly linked with swimming deaths.

Rx: Ban ice cream sales in the summer.
Jan 22, 2013 3:41AM
THERE IS A HUGE difference between spanking and beating... One is cruel and barbaric, the other helps kids!
Jan 22, 2013 3:25AM
Who the fark spanks a kid under 1 year-old?
Jan 22, 2013 3:22AM
The people who don't spank their kids are the one's who walk around in stores with screaming, annoying, spoiled kids that cry at the drop of a dime because they can't have whatever they want....
Jan 22, 2013 3:20AM
What a bunch of crap!!!  If this was true I'd be the most violent guy on the planet!!  Heck the rain forest is gone because of all the wooden spoons I broke on my butt!!!  Don't spank your kids, you'll get mouthy little bastards with no respect for anybody, spank them when they need it and you'll get respectfull good kids.
**** STUDY!!! I was spanked & so was my sister and we didnt turn out to be psychopathic killers!!!
Jan 22, 2013 3:06AM
Some kids who got spanked grew up to be responsible, mature, well adjusted adults. Some kids who didn't get spanked grew up to be irresponsible, spoiled, and disrespectful people.

And guess what else? Some kids who didn't get spanked grew up to be responsible, mature, well adjusted adults. And some kids who got spanked grew up to be angry, violent, fearful people.

It isn't whether or not you spank your kids- it's what you're teaching them.

Jan 22, 2013 3:06AM

In the interest of full disclosure please provide the sponser of the study.  This will address any bias in the report.  How many case studies were examed or individuals surveyed, when you publish the results of a study you must define the magnitude of the participants and their profiles if you want any credibility.


I don't see and of this data referenced in the results or footnote therefore this narticle and subsequent study conclusions are worthless.

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