Spanking, Hitting Linked to Adulthood Mental Disorders
ANCHORAGE -Calling the use of physical punishment “controversial,” a recent study by a group of Canadian scientists concluded those punished harshly as children are more likely to suffer from mental health issues later in life.
According to the report, published earlier this week by the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who are pushed, slapped, hit or shoved by their parents are at an increased risk of substance abuse issues and mood, personality and anxiety disorders. While previous studies linked sexual, physical and verbal child abuse with adulthood mental health problems, researchers said the new findings revealed abuse wasn’t the only culprit.
Punishments like spanking or slapping, while not traditionally deemed abusive, could be linked to the same later-in-life issues as full-blown child abuse.
“Findings from this study are consistent with past research but expand the type of impairments to include several additional Axis I disorders as well as Axis II personality disorders,” the 10-page report concluded.
The additional conditions included everything from schizophrenia to obsessive compulsive and antisocial disorders, but some local parents disagree with the study's findings.
"I think lack of discipline leads to lazy, selfish, troublesome youth," wrote Carmen Belleau on a KTVA Facebook post. "Not saying beat your kids but 'talking' doesn't teach them consequences."
Nicole Kirk said she believed the study was simply an assault on parental rights.
"Spanking [not abuse] used at a parent's discretion is reasonable and a necessary tool in the proper training of children," she wrote.
Some said a disciplinary spanking was a firm way to teach children respect: Some said they themselves were spanked, and they turned out alright. But for others, the study only reinforced their existing parenting beliefs.
"In my experience, the kids who are spanked have far worse behaviors than those who don't," wrote Anchorage resident Chris Hall. "Spanking solves nothing and only teaches violence."
Pediatric associations in both Canada and the U.S. concur.
"The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly opposes striking a child for any reason, and the Canadian Pediatric Society recommends that physicians strongly discourage the use of physical punishment."