New Study Reveals Spanking Does Harm To Your Child

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There has always been a lot of debate around whether or not spanking is good or bad for your child. Finally there is some form of substantiation – a new study now reveals that there is a link between spanking and increased risk for detrimental child outcomes.

Elizabeth Gershoff, an associate professor of human development and family sciences at The University of Texas at Austin said in a statement

Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors. We found that spanking was associated with unintended detrimental outcomes and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance, which are parents’ intended outcomes when they discipline their children.”

The study looked at a total of 160,927 children and it concluded that there is an association between spanking – and 13 of the 17 detrimental outcomes they tested for.

You may hear many adults saying there’s nothing wrong with spanking, but now there is a direct correlation that adults who were spanked as a child were actually more likely to suffer mental health problems and to behave in anti-social ways.

The analysis also finds evidence that spanking is associated with troubling outcomes — like increased aggression, greater anti-social behaviour, and mental issues later in life.

Gershoff said

“We found that spanking was associated with unintended detrimental outcomes and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance, which are parents’ intended outcomes when they discipline their children,”

According to findings from The Harris Poll in 2013, 81% of Americans (78% of American parents) believe that it’s okay to spank a child – that’s 4 out of 5 parents.

Whilst spanking is legal in all U.S states, there are currently proposals to ban spanking in Canada – Government has signalled it may change federal rules surrounding spanking as a punishment and there are many mixed views in this regard.

While many people argue that spanking is a form of child abuse, others believe that it’s a harmless but effective method of discipline.


  1. Eli Gil

    May 8, 2016 at 12:26 am

    Rodriguez Noe

  2. Stephanie

    May 10, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    This is a very interesting article. I’d like to read the entire report by Gershoff. My first reaction is to oppose this stance so I definitely need to better understand it. I strongly feel there may be a common factor among the case studies. Again, this is made admittedly prior to reading Gershoff’s entire thesis. First, I am curious what other forms of parental guidance were used? So often today parents are too busy for the time the children really need. Could the spankings be given but a large lack of time spent to make the child realize “you messed up and this is what happens [spanking/s] but I still love you to death and you have all of my time and focus”. I often hear from adults who were spanked as a child “mom (grandma) whooped my behind good when I was young…trust me, I NEVER even thought about doing that again!” Most commonly I’ve noticed these ppl all have a common factor and that’s there was almost always someone at home with them. The families that struggled financially even made sure either mom, dad, grandma, aunt, or older siblings were there. The stories of spankings are often told in funny recollections.
    I imagine if a child was spanked but often alone or not given the great amount of time in attention he or she would have some pinned up aggression.

  3. Susi Downs

    May 10, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    Boy you all are bright. Due to the fact most people got spankings as children your study is inconclusive for you don’t really know how they would have turned out if they never got one. Like most studies done by idiots with high IQ’s and not much else. They don’t really spend time with their families or they have no children. Spend most of their times in offices asking people a bunch of questions. I got the belt twice in my life. Did it scar me, No. Did I think I didn’t deserve it? No. People will tell you what you want to hear. You don’t have to have a degree or do a study to know that. For every study wasted on silly stuff as this there is one that will oppose it. Kind of like Global Warming. A lot of gobbly gook that wastes a lot of money.

  4. Gabby

    May 10, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    When I was a little girl, my parents spanked me. The result it was very angry and make me hate. As a mom I never spank my child. I believe they can talk about the issue and resolved with no aggression.
    Don’t spank your child, all you get is a very mad unloved kid who never understand why you are spanking for.

  5. diogenese for truth

    May 11, 2016 at 5:18 am

    I didn’t just get spankings as a child…I got beatings. My father used a strap, his belt, whatever he could get his hands on. While I didn’t mourn his death, neither did I become a mass murderer, child molester, serial killer, bank robber or any other “warped” person. I spanked my 3 kids, and they all became well-adjusted good citizens, marriage partners and parents. There were 7 kids in my family. We were all spanked or worse, and we all turned out all right. Most of the kids of my generation and my children’s generations were spanked and 99% of them turned out all right. This study is just like the study years ago that said breast milk causes cancer…just a bunch of crap written by someone who needed a thesis or published report…no facts, just words.

    • Mario

      May 12, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      I do agree with you.

  6. Linda

    May 11, 2016 at 10:02 am

    Are you supposed to talk a toddler out of touching something that can hurt them? Have you ever tried to “talk” a 2 year old out of not running out in the street when you first take them out of the car (yes, it happens). Every try to talk a toddler out of touching a hot stove? Try to talk it out and you end up with a child with a burnt hand or worse.

    I rarely spanked my kids, mostly when they were so small that they understood mom would spank their hand when touching dangerous things or a swat to the but when they tried to go down the basement stairs or to pick up dog poo that my neighbor’s dog left for us.

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