Mental Problems traceable to Childhood Spanking

Mental Problems Traceable to Childhood Spanking – New Study

Nine years ago, I met a pretty young girl who was in her twenties in a client’s reception office. I tried engaging her in some form of discussion since the person we both came looking for wasn’t around, but she kept looking at me straight in the eyes and touching her right ear which was covered with long weaves stylishly.

When she noticed I was becoming uneasy with the way she was looking at me, she tilted her head a little, revealing her Hearing Aid and said, “I don’t know why it’s not working. It was in perfect condition when I left home this morning”. OMG!

Somehow, the hearing aid started working after we fiddled with it, not knowing exactly what we did to get it working…lol. She was pleased and started chatting away happily. “My mum slapped me when I was 7 years old and that affected my hearing”, she said.

Also Read: Reading Difficulties in Children Associated with Hearing Problems

While it’s ok to spank children who do wrong, childhood spanking can lead to a host of mental problems in adulthood according to University of Michigan researchers.

A new study by Andrew Grogan-Kaylor and Shawna Lee, both U-M associate professors of social work, and colleagues indicates the violence caused by spanking can lead adults to feel depressed, attempt suicide, drink at moderate-to-heavy levels or use illegal drugs.

“Placing spanking in a similar category to physical/emotional abuse experiences would increase our understanding of these adult mental health problems,” Grogan-Kaylor said.

Spanking is defined as using physical force with the intention of causing a child to experience pain, but not injury, to correct or control the youth’s behavior.

Also Read: Beware of Stroke in Childhood

Researchers note that given that both spanking and physical abuse involves the use of force and infliction of pain, as well as being linked with similar mental health outcomes, it raises the question of whether spanking should be considered an adverse childhood experience. This involves abuse, neglect and household dysfunction, which includes divorce and an incarcerated relative.

The study used data from the CDC-Kaiser ACE study, which sampled more than 8,300 people, ranging in age from 19 to 97 years. Study participants completed self-reports while seeking routine health checks at an outpatient clinic.
They were asked about how often they were spanked in their first 18 years, their household background and if an adult inflicted physical abuse (push, grab, slap or shoved) or emotional abuse (insulted or cursed).

In the study sample, nearly 55 percent of respondents reported being spanked. Men were more likely to experience childhood spanking than women. Compared to white respondents, minority respondents — other than Asians — were more likely to report being spanked.

Those reporting exposure to spanking had increased odds of depression and other mental health problems, the study showed.

In our bid to correcting our children, let’s all exercise caution.

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