AUSTIN, Texas — A new study suggests spanking can cause permanent social and developmental problems.
The study, conducted by experts at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan, says spanking can cause children to defy their parents more frequently and can also result in lifelong mental health issues.
The study, published in the April edition of the Journal of Family Psychology, looked at over 160,000 children over a 50-year period.
The study defines spanking as: “An open-handed hit on the behind or extremities.”
As the frequency of spanking increases, the likelihood of anti-social behavior, mental health issues, and aggression also increases, according to the results of the study.
Children who were spanked were also more likely to support physical punishment of their own children.
According to a 2014 UNICEF report, as many as 80 percent of parents across the world admit to spanking their children.
Researchers said there’s no evidence that shows spanking has any positive effect on a child’s behavior or development, and that outcomes from spanking can be compared to physical abuse.