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Updated 30 January 2015

Spanking linked to behaviour problems

Spanking can affect a child's behaviour and learning ability for years, with the impact of physical discipline reverberating even as kids near adolescence.

Spanking can affect a child's behaviour and learning ability for years, with the impact of physical discipline reverberating even as kids near adolescence, a new study suggests.

"We found there were impacts not just on the behavioural development that folks normally look at, but also on markers of cognitive development, like the verbal capacity of the child," said co-author Michael MacKenzie, an associate professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work in New York City. "These effects are long-lasting. They aren't just short-term problems that wash out over time. And the effects were stronger for those who were spanked more than twice a week."

"I think this finding – now consistent in the research literature – surprises people who have used spanking because they tend to focus on results they can see right away, that spanking might get their child to stop doing what they are doing in the moment," said Catherine Taylor, associate professor of global community health and behavioural sciences at Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine in New Orleans.

For more information on child discipline, visit the Nemours Foundation.

 
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