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Spanking May Lower Kids' IQs
Date:9/25/2009

Experts believe corporal punishment can affect psychological well-being,,,,,,

FRIDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The bad news is that youngsters who are spanked might lose IQ points.

The good news is that it appears that children's IQs are on the rise -- and at least one expert believes that part of the reason why is that corporal punishment is falling out of favor in the United States and elsewhere.

That's the view of discipline and domestic violence expert Murray Straus, a professor of sociology and co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire. Straus was scheduled to present the findings from recent research on spanking on Friday at the International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma in San Diego.

The results of a survey of more than 17,000 university students from 32 countries "show that the higher the percent of parents who used corporal punishment, the lower the national average IQ," Straus wrote in his presentation.

In looking at spanking just in the United States, Straus and a fellow researcher reviewed data on IQ scores from 806 children between 2 and 4 years old and another 704 kids aged 5 to 9.

When their IQs were tested again four years later, children in the younger group who were not spanked scored five points higher, on average, than did children who had been spanked. In the group of older children, spanking resulted in an average loss of 2.8 points.

"How often parents spanked made a difference," Straus said in a news release from the university. "The more spanking, the slower the development of the child's mental ability. But even small amounts of spanking made a difference."

Dr. Rahil Briggs, a child psychologist with the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City, said she believes that "discipline should be an opportunity to teach your child something."

"If you spank, you teach your child that
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