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.


Barbara Rogers said...

Only 23 of the UN's 192 countries legally ban physical violence against children. To grow up and live free from violence is a basic human right. Murray Straus' groundbreaking research makes clear in what danger children are who are not loved but abused. They are marked for life by the consequences of traumatic experiences which violence causes for the human body, soul and mind.
The human brain is a use-dependent organ, which learns through experience, and is not a fully developed organ at birth. Its development during the first years is dramatic, and formative for life. By age 3, already 90% of a child's brain development has taken place as the synapsis between the neurons, the brain cells, are mostly built during these crucial first years.
Murray Straus and others, like the neurobiologists Bruce Perry and Martin Teicher, share vitally important research. We all MUST LEARN from their scientific knowledge, LEARN how to care with respect and love for children so that they never become powerless, defenseless objects of humiliating and perilous violence. Beaten children often will act out (self) destructively, their potential is impeded, and they become unable to make healthy decisions. Every time an adult strikes a child, trust is betrayed, the child's well-being is not cared for, his or her health and safety are not protected and the child's life is endangered.
Barbara Rogers
therapist and author of "Screams from Childhood"

ERP said...

What about adults who enjoy spanking?