Study: Spanking child linked with same negative outcome as abuse

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

AUSTIN, TX -- It's the question that most parents will ultimately have to decide: how will you discipline your child? A new study by researchers at UT Austin and the University of Michigan argue that spanking may not be the right answer.

According to the 50 year study, the more children are spanked, the more likely they are to defy their parents and experience problems such as anti-social behavior, aggression and other difficulties. The study researched nearly 161,000 children.

"Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors," Associate Professor Elizabeth Gershoff said.

The researchers found that spanking a child did the complete opposite of what parents wanted to happen.

"The upshot of the study is that spanking increases the likelihood of a wide variety of undesired outcomes for children. Spanking thus does the opposite of what parents usually want it to do," Andrew Grogan-Kaylor added.

Researchers also equated the use of spanking a child to the same negative outcome as abuse.