Friday, September 25, 2009
Spanking Linked to Lower I.Q.
A new study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health has found that children who are spanked end up with a lower I.Q. than children who are not spanked. The researchers looked at 32 nations (including the U.S.) that used corporal punishment and compared the I.Q. between children.
They found that the children who were spanked the most fell behind I.Q. development scores. But even children who were spanked a "little" were behind those who did not receive corporal punishment.
"The longitudinal part of our study showed that children who were spanked the most fell behind the average IQ development curve, and those who were never spanked advanced ahead of the average", said Dr. Murray Straus, study lead.
The IQs of children aged 2 to 4 years who were not spanked were 5 points higher 4 years later than the IQs of those who were spanked. The IQs of children aged 5 to 9 years who were not spanked were 2.8 points higher 4 years later than the IQs of children the same age who were spanked.
The analysis showed a lower national average IQ in nations where spanking was more prevalent. Dr. Straus said that the strongest link between corporal punishment and IQ was for those whose parents continued to use corporal punishment even when subjects were teenagers.
Spanking is stressful for a child and frequent spanking leads to chronic stress and even post-traumatic stress syndrome. These symptoms can lead to lower I.Q. Is it a cause-effect relationship? No-one knows for sure, but health educators have shown the ineffectiveness of corporal punishment before, so educating parents in positive and non-punitive forms of behavior modification look like the answer.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 12:42 PM