Results of a 50-Year Study Show that Spanking has Significant Negative Effects on Children's Mental Health

Recently, the University of Texas in Austin and the University of Michigan published a study citing that spanking is linked to aggression, antisocial behavior, mental health problems, cognitive difficulties, low self-esteem, and a whole host of other negative outcomes. The universities used data collected from over 150,000 people over a 50-year period, and concluded that there are no positive benefits to spanking children. Rather, there are 13 significant negative mental health issues that arise from spanking. 

Elizabeth T. Gershoff, the lead author of the study, told CBS News that by the time children enter school, at least 85% of them have been spanked. She also states that spanking is ultimately a euphemism for beating or hitting one's children. Some people might counter that they turned out okay, or that they need to spank their children in order to clearly define who's in charge. To such comments, Gershoff says that people turned out okay "in spite of being spanked, not because of it," and that there are better, healthier ways to discipline children. 

Children do need discipline in their lives, and a better way to do this is to set clear boundaries, be consistent about the boundaries, be organized, and be a role model. Bottom line, corporal punishment only leads to negative effects on the long term mental health of children and sets a precedent for future violence. 

Article by: Rajmani Sinclair, May 31, 2016