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Spanking Raises Chances of Risky, Deviant Sexual Behavior
Date:2/28/2008

Review found physical punishment of kids linked to unprotected, masochistic sex as adults

THURSDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have uncovered another damaging consequence of spanking: risky sexual behaviors, or even sexual deviancy, when the child grows up.

"This adds one more harmful side effect to spanking," said Murray Straus, a spanking expert who was expected to present the findings of four studies at the American Psychological Association's Summit on Violence and Abuse in Relationships in Bethesda, Md., on Thursday.

"I think that it's pretty powerful," said Elizabeth Gershoff, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan's School of Social Work. "It's across several studies and across different forms of either risky or deviant sexual behavior."

Straus, who was the author of all four studies, hopes the findings will raise awareness among child development experts.

"My hope is to convince my colleagues that they ought to put this in their textbooks," said Straus, co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, in Durham. "It's amazing. Something experienced by all American kids gets an average of half a page in child development textbooks, and not a single one comes to the conclusion that parents should never spank."

Even the revered Dr. Spock, who was anti-spanking, never came right out and advised parents outright not to do it, he added. Instead, Spock advised "avoiding it if you can."

A meta-analysis of spanking studies conducted by Gershoff found 93 percent agreement among studies that spanking can lead to such problems as delinquent and anti-social behavior in childhood along with aggression, criminal and anti-social behavior and spousal or child abuse as an adult.

"There's probably nothing else in child development that has 93 percent agreement in results," Straus said.

Five percent of people who have
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