Navigation Links
Parents less likely to spank after reading briefly about its links to problems in children

Parents who spank their children believe it's an effective form of discipline. But decades of research studies have found that spanking is linked to short- and long-term child behavior problems.

Is there any way to get parents to change their minds and stop spanking? Child psychologist George Holden, who favors humane alternatives to corporal punishment, wanted to see if parents' positive views toward spanking could be reversed if they were made aware of the research.

Holden and three colleagues at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, used a simple, fast, inexpensive method to briefly expose subjects to short research summaries that detailed spanking's negative impact.

Carrying out two studies, one with non-parents and one with parents, Holden and his co-authors on the research found that attitudes were significantly altered.

"Parents spank with good intentions they believe it will promote good behavior, and they don't intend to harm the child. But research increasingly indicates that spanking is actually a harmful practice," said Holden, lead author on the study. "These studies demonstrate that a brief exposure to research findings can reduce positive corporal punishment attitudes in parents and non-parents."

The researchers believe the study is the first of its kind to find that brief exposure to spanking research can alter people's views toward spanking. Previous studies in the field have relied on more intensive, time-consuming and costly methods to attempt to change attitudes toward spanking.

"If we can educate people about this issue of corporal punishment, these studies show that we can in a very quick way begin changing attitudes," said Holden, a professor in the SMU Department of Psychology who has carried out extensive research on spanking.

The findings, "Research findings can change attitudes about corporal punishment," have been published online in the international journal of Child Abuse & Neglect at

Study probed attitudes, which research has found predict behaviors

Research has found that parents who spank believe spanking can make children behave or respect them. That belief drives parental behavior, more so than their level of anger, the seriousness of the child's misbehavior or the parent's perceived intent of the child's misbehavior.

Additionally, parents form their opinions based on advice from others they trust, primarily their own parents, their spouse and pediatricians, followed by mental health workers, teachers, parent educators and religious leaders.

Two studies with parents and non-parents both find changed attitudes

In the first SMU study, the subjects were 118 non-parent college students divided into two groups: one that actively processed web-based information about spanking research; and one that passively read web summaries.

The summary consisted of several sentences describing the link between spanking and short- and long-term child behavior problems, including aggressive and delinquent acts, poor quality of parent-child relationships and an increased risk of child physical abuse.

The majority of the participants in the study, 74.6 percent, thought less favorably of spanking after reading the summary. Unexpectedly, the researchers said, attitude change was significant for both active and passive participants.

A second study replicated the first study, but with 263 parent participants, predominantly white mothers. The researchers suspected parents might be more resistant to change their attitudes. Parents already have established disciplinary practices, are more invested in their current practices and have sought advice from trusted individuals.

But the results indicated otherwise. After reading brief research statements on the web, 46.7 percent of the parents changed their attitudes and expressed less approval of spanking.

"Given the brevity of our intervention, the results are notable," said the authors. "Our Web-based approach is less expensive, potentially quicker, and more easily scaled up to use at a community level."

With spanking a public health concern, this approach offers a simple way to reach a large audience to change attitudes and reduce parents' reliance on corporal punishment, said Holden, who was recently elected president of Dallas' oldest child abuse prevention agency, Family Compass. For example, educational modules could be developed for high school students, the authors said. More information online about the study is at


Contact: Margaret Allen
Southern Methodist University

Related medicine news :

1. Narconon Releases Parents’ Tools to Effectively Communicate Marijuana Abuse Dangers
2. New Best Drug Rehabilitation Blog Post Helps Parents Teach Their Kids about Drugs and Alcohol
3. Pediatrician Offer Parents Her Top 10 Toy Safety Tips to Follow When Shopping for Christmas Gifts
4. Diet Doc Hormone Diets & Weight Loss Plans Introduces New Diet Plans for Parents, Introducing Weight Loss to Parents to Help their Children Avoid Breast Cancer
5. Ross Insurance Offers Advice to Parents in an Effort to Help Reduce the Number of Teen Drinking and Driving Accidents
6. Upcoming Praeclarus Press/Simkin Center Webinar Teaches How to Help Parents Prepare for Birth after Previous Traumatic Childbirth
7. HRH The Duchess of Gloucester, Patron of The Lullaby Trust, Will Join 250 Health Visitors Who Have Helped Support Bereaved Parents Over the Last 25 Years
8. Medical research needs kids, but two-thirds of parents unaware of opportunities
9. Online Insurance Marketplace Explains the Importance of Talking with Parents About Life Insurance
10. “Lost in Public” Video Helps Parents Keep Their Children Safe
11. In pandemic, parents who get reminders more likely to get kids vaccinated
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... , ... Many people know of the common symptoms of low thyroid hormone ... But many people who find their cholesterol levels and weight are creeping up are ... if they don’t have any of the other symptoms. , Thyroid hormone plays a ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... Students and parents ... awarded to winners of the Create Real Impact awards. California Casualty is ... help stem the tide of distracted and reckless driving, the number one killer of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Eric C. Seidel, DMD ... benefits of the revolutionary BIOLASE WaterLase iPlus 2.0™ system. This advanced laser technology ... by a dentist in Gettysburg, PA . From routine visits to cosmetic ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... AZ (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... Young ... 2.0™ treatments from Dr. Angela Wolfman and Dr. Kedar S. Lele, who are ... for frenectomies, cavities and fillings, the WaterLase iPlus 2.0™ system causes minimal discomfort and ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... In an article ... and variables that determine which patients are or are not eligible for bariatric surgery. ... a BMI over 40, are more than 100 pounds overweight, or have a BMI ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... November 24, 2015 Sectra (STO: ... has entered into a multi-year agreement to deploy ... investment will provide the Breast Center a future-proof platform ... (STO: SECT B) announces that Breast Center of ... deploy Breast Imaging PACS in its two freestanding imaging ...
(Date:11/24/2015)...   HeartWare International, Inc . (NASDAQ: HTWR ... technologies that are revolutionizing the treatment of advanced heart ... Doug Godshall is scheduled to present at ... on December 1, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. ET.  The ... New York . . ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , November 24, 2015 ... of the University of Bern ... Nutrition of the Bern University Hospital "Inselspital" are proud ... develop a novel generation artificial pancreas. Combining a fully ... for diabetic patients with the unequalled accuracy of an ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: