Childhood spankings can lead to adult mental health problems

Getting spanked as a child can lead to a host of mental health problems in adulthood, say 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.

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. 

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Replies to This Discussion

For the last few months, when I try to go to discussions by Ruth from my email notification, I almost always get the message "Our apologies - this page was not found".  I have to go to Atheist Nexus and find the post in the right hand collumn.  I can't remember for sure, but it never or very seldom happens when anyone else starts discussions.  Does anyone have an explanation?

About the “Our apologies - this page was not found” message:

Spud, finding the post in the right hand column on A/N’s main page is a perhaps time-consuming way.

Another way: This “Don’t Spank” group is a subgroup in the major group “Parenting....”, which you can find by clicking on the “GROUPS” header on A/N’s main page. You will see several ways to sort the major groups. The “recent activity” sort may give you the quickest way.
My dad’s physical spankings made this little Catholic into an angry big Catholic. One of my mom’s verbal ‘spankings’ made an angry big Catholic into an angry big heathen.

The 4th? In high school I decided that fathers and mothers have to earn honor.

Decades later they died and I didn’t care. More decades later I found my post-traumatic stress symptoms. I’d been hyper-alert all of my adult life. The other symptoms surfaced occasionally.

PTS is not a disorder. It’s the mind protecting the mind, a mental analog to the body’s immunological response.

Thanks for sharing your personal experience, tom. 

I suppose I would be considered hyper-alert in certain areas of life, but not others. Who else pays such attention to Arctic Sea Ice and corporate takeover? But I had no physical or verbal "spankings". I can trace some of my super-attention to particular childhood events. For example, I rigorously floss and brush twice daily, to the point that at 72 I've eroded some tooth enamel. That's from having a permanent tooth pulled as a young child when I got a cavity, and my parents chose extraction over filling because they were so poor and it was cheaper. Scarred for life. Boy did I get off easy compared to you. My post traumatic stress symptoms are from a career teaching the least motivated pupils in public high school. It's about 13 years since I retired, and I still have teaching nightmares from time to time.

Nightmares are one of the other symptoms of PTS.

I had only one nightmare; it resulted in my deciding to have no kids lest I do to more kids what my dad did to his. I married a woman who had her own reason for deciding to have no kids.

Without having to provide for kids I was free to do the changing I needed to do.

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