After 50 Years of Studies Researchers Say Spanking Leads To Mental Health Problems

   By SheSpeaksTeam  Apr 28, 2016

Though many of us may remember being punished this way, the idea of spanking a child when they disobey has become a heated debate in recent years. But a new study that analyzes 50 years of research suggests definitively that children who are spanked are at greater risk of developing long-term mental health problems.

A local Detroit CBS affiliate reports about the study from the University of Michigan School of Social Work and University of Texas that suggests spanking kids often leads to aggression and depression as adults. Through 50 years of research on spanking children, researchers also find that it’s a cycle - those who were spanked as children are much more likely to discipline their children in this way and so forth.

Researchers involved in the study were not surprised to find that adults who were spanked as kids were more likely to suffer mental health problems later in life.They were however surprised how all of the data they analyzed supports the theory, especially given the breadth of research spanning 50 years. One of the researchers involved in the study Andrew Grogan-Kaylor explains, “What’s surprising is kind of the unanimity of 50 years of research — it’s not inconsistent research or it’s not kind of a debate, it’s almost 100 percent consistent.”

Grogan-Kaylor also warns that parents who think they are correcting a problem by choosing spanking as a form of discipline don’t understand the possible long-term side effects. He says, “Parents spank because they want to correct bad behavior that’s happening right now. As human beings, we often tend to be bad at seeing long-term outcomes. So what the research says is that the spanking is probably not going to correct the behavior in the short-term and it’s very likely to lead to mental health difficulties, anxious kids, aggressive kids.”

What do you think about this new study suggesting spanking often leads to mental health problems?

Do you think the way children are disciplined has an effect on their mental health later in life?

Make a Comment

csdorsett by csdorsett | COVINGTON, TN
Jul 11, 2016

Yes, my own experience with spanking let me know what would not be tolerated and should I desire to step outside that boundary what would happen. I did not get mixed signals from parents with mental health problems or absenteeism. Children who are confused about behavior in civilized society make for adults who are nightmares to be around. Spanking didn't become bad, the people using it as first choice to teach a child did.

LadyBryant by LadyBryant | PENN HILLS, PA
Jun 11, 2016

I have been saying this but everyones fav. defense is "my mother spanked me and I turned out great!" I do not agree with spankings and never will.

sharman421 by sharman421 | TALLAHASSEE, FL
May 03, 2016

I think that those parents who spank on a regular basis have probably done some real damage. I can certainly understand the "anxiety" end of it. The kids learn to expect very unpleasant outcomes, they are conditioned for it. So, as an adult, if they are not quite sure about something, I can see anxiety setting in and being unable to make the right decision about things. As a teacher, I have had students who I know have been "spanked" and they tend also to be the more aggressive ones, especially the boys (and I am not being sexist. Just stating a fact!)

lolamae22 by lolamae22 | Houston, TX
Apr 30, 2016

I was in the generation that got spanked. I really can not say it was a negative for me, but you can bet it kept me on the straight an narrow. I knew that I had to behave or there were consequences to pay. I just think that like any other emotion everyone is different and this can effect people in different ways. Everyone is different and I think you have to find what what works best for your child.

JustJensReviews by JustJensReviews | VICTORVILLE, CA
Apr 30, 2016

I definitely feel it impacts the later in life. I am a product of spankings and I feel it has left me with trust issues.