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Study: spanking may lead to adult mental illness

Study: spanking may lead to adult mental illness

Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 8:00 pm

Bo Bradshaw
Tennessee News Service
Parents have historically disciplined their children by spanking, but a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says there’s a significant link between children who are disciplined with harsh physical punishment and increased likelihood that those children will develop mental-health disorders as adults.
Lu Hanessian, author and founder of Parent to Parent U, says the report is not a surprise.
“Frequent spanking and physical corporal punishment that hurts the child or creates fear in the child enormously raises the risk of that child developing mental health issues later in life.”
The analyzed data was from multiple government surveys of more than 35,000 U.S. adults.
Hanessian says the report is based on scientific data that shows a direct link to increased odds of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug abuse and several personality disorders.
Hanessian says today’s technology proves what researchers have been stating for 20 years.
“You can see the brains. They took subjects who were subjected to chronic parental stress and their hippocampi are markable smaller. They’re 30 percent smaller than the average person who wasn’t.”
Researchers say that spanking and other corporal punishment can have a significant adverse effect on the development of a child’s brain and brain function.
From a public health perspective, reducing physical punishment may help decrease the prevalence of mental disorders in the general population, according to the AAP. Hanessian says it’s important to note that the report is not saying if you spank, your child is doomed.
“The whole key here is that if a parent realizes they’ve seen some deleterious effects in their kids and they want to redeem the situation, they want to improve it, the good news is that it isn’t too late.”
More information is available at www.Parent2ParentU.com.
Published in The WCP 7.24.12

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