Spanking: Linked to Mental Disorders in Adults

To spank or not. Some parents believe it’s ok to spank your kids to get them to behave. Others don’t. But one study in the United States has found that children who were spanked or smacked as a means of discipline were also likely to have mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and alcohol and drug abuse.

 The study, which was published in “Pediatrics”, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is the first to show a link between spanking and other harsh physical punishment (pushing, grabbing, slapping, hitting) and psychological problems.Between 2 to 7 % of mental disorders like depression, anxiety, anorexia, and bulimia were attributable to physical punishment as a child.

The study surveyed more than 600 American adults who said they recalled experiencing harsh punishment as a child. It’s important to note, however, that the respondents were not abused or maltreated.

While some parenting experts argue that spanking can be appropriate discipline, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly oppose striking a child for any reason. Instead, parents can use alternative discipline strategies such as positive reinforcement.