Spanking has been, and still is, a common method of child discipline used by American parents.
But mothers who report that they or their partner spanked their child in the past year are nearly three times more likely to state that they also used harsher forms of punishment than those who say their child was not spanked, according to a new study led by the Injury Prevention Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Such punishments included behaviors considered physically abusive by the researchers, such as beating, burning, kicking, hitting with an object somewhere other than the buttocks, or shaking a child less than 2 years old.
“In addition, increases in the frequency of spanking are associated with increased odds of abuse, and mothers who report spanking on the buttocks with an object such as a belt or a switch are nine times more likely to report abuse, compared to mothers who report no spanking with an object,” said Adam J. Zolotor, M.D., the study’s lead author.
Although some surveys show evidence of a modest decline in spanking over the last 30 years, recent surveys show that up to 90 percent of children between the ages of 3 and 5 years are spanked by their parents at least occasionally.
Zolotor and his co-authors conducted an anonymous telephone survey on parenting of a probability sample of 1,435 mothers in North Carolina and South Carolina in 2002.
Forty-five percent of the mothers reported that they or their partner had spanked their child in the previous 12 months and 25 percent reported spanking with an object on the buttocks.
Read more at Medical News Today