December 05, 2017

Study links being spanked as kid and dating violence

Research Violence
Spanking Children monkeybusinessimages/iStock.com

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A new study suggests being spanked as a child may be linked to a person's propensity to be abusive in future romantic relationships.

The research, recently published in The Journal of Pediatrics, surveyed 758 Texas high school students in ninth and tenth grades, who were asked about their childhood experiences with corporal punishment and their current experiences with dating violence.

Of those surveyed, 19 percent reported committing physical dating violence, while 68% said they experienced corporal punishment as children. The researchers found a "significant positive association between corporal punishment and physical perpetration of dating violence."

The correlation between the two was still strong even after researchers controlled for sex, ethnicity, age, parental education, and child physical abuse.

Jeff Temple, an associate professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch and the study’s lead author, told The Cut that adults who were spanked as children tend to continue the practice with their own kids.

"There’s zero evidence that it enhances children’s development, and there is a whole bunch of evidence that it has negative outcomes," Temple said of corporal punishment.

As The Cut noted, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests alternatives to spanking for punishing children, such as withholding privileges, timeout and allowing natural consequences to play out.