A study revealed that children who were smacked have a higher risk of developing mental illnesses later on in life.
These mental illnesses may be any one of the following: mood and anxiety disorders, alcohol problems, and drug abuse.
The recent study is the first that examined the connection between spanking during childhood and psychological problems in adulthood. However, unlike previous studies that linked physical punishment and mental disturbances, the study excluded severe physical abuse and focused only on corporal punishment. Sexual and physical abuse that caused injury, marks, or bruises were all excluded. It mainly focused on pushing, shoving, grabbing, slapping, or hitting.
The study, which was conducted by the University of Manitoba in Canada, said that the likelihood of developing mental issues later on were 2-7% higher in those who were hit as children. It also showed that 2-5% if disorders such as anxiety, depression, anorexia, bulimia, and bipolar disorder were linked to histories of physical punishment in childhood, while the same could be said about four to seven percent of personality disorder, OCD, and intellectual disabilities. Although the figures are quite low compared to the higher statistics of people who recall being spanked as children, it still shows a link between the two factors.
Victor Fornari of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in New York, while not involved in the study, says that although the rate is not dramatic, “it is higher, just to suggest that physical punishment is a ‘risk factor’.”
The study was conducted using a retrospective survey of more than 600 adults, and was published in the US journal Pediatrics. However, researchers did stress that it was unable to establish a cause and effect relationship between the two factors. In conclusion, they merely concluded that among adults who had memories of being spanked, the incidence of mental problems were higher.
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