Spanking can lead to relationship violence, study says

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(WTVF) ---- Parents who spank their children might be setting them up to become violent toward future partners, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of Pediatrics.

"We asked 758 kids between 19 and 20 years old how often they had been spanked, slapped or struck with an object as form of punishment when they were younger," said the study's lead author, Jeff Temple, a psychiatry professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch. "Kids who said they had experienced corporal punishment were more likely to have recently committed dating violence."

This result, he said, held up even when contributing factors such as sex, age, parental education, ethnicity and childhood abuse were controlled.

"One of the advantages of our study was to control for child abuse, which we defined as being hit with a belt or board, left with bruises that were noticeable or going to the doctor or hospital," said Temple, who specializes in dating, or relationship, violence. "Regardless of whether someone experienced child abuse or not, spanking alone was predictive of dating violence."

The result was no surprise to Dr. Bob Sege, a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatricians who specializes in the prevention of childhood violence. The academy strongly opposes striking a child for any reason, pointing to research that links corporal punishment to mental health disorders and aggression.