July 3, 2012
Hitting Your Kids Increases their Risk of Mental Illness | Healthland - TIME.com
A new study finds that children who experience pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping and hitting are more likely to be diagnosed with mental illness. Just one more reason to embrace alternative forms of discipline.
By Bonnie Rochman | @brochman
July 2, 2012
What if we, as a society, could cut down on the incidence of mental illness by backing away from hitting, grabbing or pushing our children?
That’s a prospect raised by a new study in Pediatrics, which finds that harsh physical punishment increases the risk of mental disorders — even when the punishment doesn’t stoop to the level of actual abuse.
What qualifies as appropriate punishment is a hot-button topic among parents. The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes corporal punishment, but studies have shown that up to 80% of parents report that they rely on it to some extent. What constitutes physical punishment is also wide-ranging: everything from a light slap on the hand to an all-out whipping with a belt or a paddle.
“In the general population, there is a belief that physical punishment is okay as long as you’re not doing it in anger and you’re a warm and loving parent,” says Tracie Afifi, the study’s author and an assistant professor in the department of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba. “But there’s no data supporting that.”
(MORE: Why Spanking Doesn’t Work)
Afifi and colleagues decided to examine five forms of physical punishment — pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping and hitting — that took place in the absence of even more severe acts of abuse or neglect such as punching, burning, physical neglect or sexual abuse. Other related research has not specifically included or excluded more severe types of abuse, meaning that the abuse — and not the grabbing or slapping — may be driving the relationship between physical punishment and mental disorders.
She did not examine spanking because it’s not easy to define: what’s considered spanking varies from parent to parent. But, she says, “a push is a push, and a grab is a grab.”
In the study, researchers analyzed nearly 22,000 people in the U.S. who were age 20 or older: 1,258 who had experienced pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping and hitting sometimes or very often, and 19,349 who reported they had experienced it rarely or never. They adjusted results for gender, race, marital status, education and a history of family dysfunction; if the person’s parents had drug problems or were hospitalized for mental illness, that could have affected their use of physical punishment.
Across the board, people who’d experienced physical punishment were more likely to experience nearly every type of mental illness examined. Their risk of mood disorders, including depression and mania, was 1.5 times greater than people who hadn’t been slapped or grabbed. The risk of depression alone was 1.4 times greater, which was the same rate for anxiety. People who’d been physically punished were 1.6 times more likely to abuse alcohol, and 1.5 times more likely to abuse drugs.
(MORE: How Child Maltreatment May Scar the Brain)
“There’s going to be lot of people that think that a parent absolutely needs to use physical force to raise a compliant child,” says Afifi. “It’s pretty well-established that physical abuse has a negative impact on mental health, but this is showing the same effect even when you look at milder forms of physical force. This is saying that physical punishment should not be used on children of any age.”
George Holden, a professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University who published research last year on the first real-time study of parents physically disciplining their kids, says Afifi’s findings fit into a “large constellation” of studies that show children whose parents use physical force are at greater risk for depression and anxiety. “This is yet another study documenting that this practice can result in unintended negative consequences,” says Holden. “Other studies have shown corporal punishment in childhood carries over to adulthood in terms of aggression, so there’s no reason why it wouldn’t in the area of mental health.”
Afifi hopes that “reasonable” parents will read about her research and decide to swear off physical punishment. Pediatricians can be part of the solution, talking to parents about alternative methods. “It’s never too late to stop,” she says, though she acknowledges a “cultural shift” needs to happen in order to turn the tide.
MORE: The New Science Behind Children’s Temper Tantrums
Bonnie Rochman is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @brochman. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.
Copyright © 2012 Time Inc. All rights reserved.
[Image from peaceful parenting.]

Hitting Your Kids Increases their Risk of Mental Illness | Healthland - TIME.com

A new study finds that children who experience pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping and hitting are more likely to be diagnosed with mental illness. Just one more reason to embrace alternative forms of discipline.

By Bonnie Rochman | @brochman

July 2, 2012

What if we, as a society, could cut down on the incidence of mental illness by backing away from hitting, grabbing or pushing our children?

That’s a prospect raised by a new study in Pediatrics, which finds that harsh physical punishment increases the risk of mental disorders — even when the punishment doesn’t stoop to the level of actual abuse.

What qualifies as appropriate punishment is a hot-button topic among parents. The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes corporal punishment, but studies have shown that up to 80% of parents report that they rely on it to some extent. What constitutes physical punishment is also wide-ranging: everything from a light slap on the hand to an all-out whipping with a belt or a paddle.

“In the general population, there is a belief that physical punishment is okay as long as you’re not doing it in anger and you’re a warm and loving parent,” says Tracie Afifi, the study’s author and an assistant professor in the department of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba. “But there’s no data supporting that.”

(MORE: Why Spanking Doesn’t Work)

Afifi and colleagues decided to examine five forms of physical punishment — pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping and hitting — that took place in the absence of even more severe acts of abuse or neglect such as punching, burning, physical neglect or sexual abuse. Other related research has not specifically included or excluded more severe types of abuse, meaning that the abuse — and not the grabbing or slapping — may be driving the relationship between physical punishment and mental disorders.

She did not examine spanking because it’s not easy to define: what’s considered spanking varies from parent to parent. But, she says, “a push is a push, and a grab is a grab.”

In the study, researchers analyzed nearly 22,000 people in the U.S. who were age 20 or older: 1,258 who had experienced pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping and hitting sometimes or very often, and 19,349 who reported they had experienced it rarely or never. They adjusted results for gender, race, marital status, education and a history of family dysfunction; if the person’s parents had drug problems or were hospitalized for mental illness, that could have affected their use of physical punishment.

Across the board, people who’d experienced physical punishment were more likely to experience nearly every type of mental illness examined. Their risk of mood disorders, including depression and mania, was 1.5 times greater than people who hadn’t been slapped or grabbed. The risk of depression alone was 1.4 times greater, which was the same rate for anxiety. People who’d been physically punished were 1.6 times more likely to abuse alcohol, and 1.5 times more likely to abuse drugs.

(MORE: How Child Maltreatment May Scar the Brain)

“There’s going to be lot of people that think that a parent absolutely needs to use physical force to raise a compliant child,” says Afifi. “It’s pretty well-established that physical abuse has a negative impact on mental health, but this is showing the same effect even when you look at milder forms of physical force. This is saying that physical punishment should not be used on children of any age.”

George Holden, a professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University who published research last year on the first real-time study of parents physically disciplining their kids, says Afifi’s findings fit into a “large constellation” of studies that show children whose parents use physical force are at greater risk for depression and anxiety. “This is yet another study documenting that this practice can result in unintended negative consequences,” says Holden. “Other studies have shown corporal punishment in childhood carries over to adulthood in terms of aggression, so there’s no reason why it wouldn’t in the area of mental health.”

Afifi hopes that “reasonable” parents will read about her research and decide to swear off physical punishment. Pediatricians can be part of the solution, talking to parents about alternative methods. “It’s never too late to stop,” she says, though she acknowledges a “cultural shift” needs to happen in order to turn the tide.

MORE: The New Science Behind Children’s Temper Tantrums

Bonnie Rochman is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @brochman. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

Copyright © 2012 Time Inc. All rights reserved.

[Image from peaceful parenting.]

  1. hyenabrave reblogged this from ladypandacat and added:
    The most I ever received was a slap on the hand for touching something I shouldn’t, eg a gas fire, or sticking fingers...
  2. byrnese reblogged this from ohmygawdchandlahbing and added:
    I was spanked growing up. It was a punishment not lightly earned, and although I understand this is an unpopular...
  3. ohmygawdchandlahbing reblogged this from lady-tromboss
  4. meowsandmusicnotes reblogged this from iateglitterforbreakfast
  5. lady-tromboss reblogged this from iateglitterforbreakfast and added:
    There is NEVER a situation in which it is okay to use physical punishment on a child, as a teacher, parent or otherwise....
  6. hype-ting reblogged this from kngshxt
  7. siberianninja reblogged this from ladypandacat
  8. poopingwithatamponin reblogged this from ladypandacat and added:
    man i’m just not sure i’m comfortable with this because correlation ≠ causation and you know maybe there’s other factors...
  9. yolanda-be-coool reblogged this from kngshxt and added:
    you won’t catch a nigga shooting up the mall for no damn reason parents beat up your kids IT WORKS
  10. do-iwanna-knowam reblogged this from ladypandacat
  11. bornafoulcreation reblogged this from ladypandacat
  12. heyyitsjesshere reblogged this from ladypandacat and added:
    Hitting Your Kids Increases their Risk of Mental Illness | Healthland - TIME.com A new study finds that children who...
  13. sagesse reblogged this from ladypandacat
  14. laabelllavittta reblogged this from ladypandacat
  15. i-steal-cookies reblogged this from kngshxt and added:
    I’ve probably been given a good whoop since I was young. Believe me my mom used more than a wooden spoon. I turned out...
  16. uhmmyeahh reblogged this from kngshxt and added:
    If i didnt get whoopins i wouldnt be the real nigga i am today.. so this is invalid.
  17. suckmesleezi reblogged this from flawlessxqueen and added:
    Im really tired of people saying shit like that ^ excuse me, but there are Penitentiaries AND MENTAL FACILITIES FULL of...
  18. tawnysdesire reblogged this from kngshxt and added:
    there is a difference between spanking and beating your child up…
  19. flawlessxqueen reblogged this from kngshxt
  20. hairhattedghouligan reblogged this from thagoodthings
  21. supreme-shieldmaiden reblogged this from hellyeahfeminism
  22. dael-io-lantern reblogged this from hellyeahfeminism
  23. kaybee384 reblogged this from hellyeahfeminism
  24. mortalfright reblogged this from hellyeahfeminism
  25. mscoolcat reblogged this from hellyeahfeminism
  26. hellyeahfeminism reblogged this from thenewwomensmovement
  27. magentafeeling reblogged this from samanticshift
  28. samanticshift reblogged this from paradife-loft and added:
    These are all really good points, so reblogging for commentary!
  29. paradife-loft reblogged this from samanticshift and added:
    [tw: discussion of abuse] simply cutting out clear-cut physical and sexual abuse is not in fact controlling for abuse....
  30. thewhitetigress reblogged this from spark-black and added:
    #i keep finding out that my childhood wasnt as great as i thought it was
  31. vampire-of-soda reblogged this from thenewwomensmovement