USA Today (7/2, Healy) reports, “Children who are spanked, hit, or pushed as a means of discipline may be at an increased risk of mental problems in adulthood — from mood and anxiety disorders to drug and alcohol abuse,” according to a study published today in the journal Pediatrics.
“Previous studies have tied physical or sexual abuse to mental illness, but the large-scale Canadian study looked at the effects of less severe corporal punishment that many parents use to discipline their children,” the New York Daily News (7/72, Kinstler, Conner) reports. “The researchers reported…that up to 7% of mental illnesses could be attributed to the punishment.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (7/2, Sathian) reports that “today’s study…polled nearly 35,000 adults over the age of 20 between 2004 and 2005. In face-to-face interviews, respondents were asked to recall from their childhood if they were hit, grabbed, pushed or experienced other physical punishment.” Sexual abuse or “‘severe physical abuse’ – defined as anything that left a mark or caused injury,” was excluded.
“After adjustment for sociodemographic factors and family dysfunction, harsh physical punishment was associated with an increased risk of most lifetime Axis I mental disorders,” MedPage Today (7/2, Smith) reports. “Specifically, the adjusted odds ratio for: major depression was 1.41 with a 99.9% confidence interval from 1.03 to 1.92; mania was 1.93 with a 99.9% confidence interval from 1.07 to 3.48; any mood disorder was 1.49 with a 99.9% confidence interval from 1.11 to 2.00; any anxiety disorder was 1.36 with a 99.9% confidence interval from 1.05 to 1.77; any alcohol abuse or dependence was 1.59 with a 99.9% confidence interval from 1.21 to 2.08,” and “any drug abuse or dependence was 1.53 with a 99.9% confidence interval from 1.06 to 2.20.” AFP (7/2, Sheridan) also covers the story.
— “Study links physical punishment to later mental disorders, ” Michelle Healy, USA Today, July 2, 2012.