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article imageSpanking children results in lower IQ

By Kevin Jess     Sep 26, 2009 in Health
A new study conducted by one of North America's foremost child psychology experts suggests that children who are not spanked will grow up to have higher IQs than those who are.
Previous studies have found a correlation between corporal punishment in child rearing and negative behavioural issues such a aggression, but a new study has also linked lower intelligence test scores in children whose mothers say they use spanking as a form of discipline.
In an interview with Live Science, study researcher Murray Straus of the University of New Hampshire said, "All parents want smart children, and this research shows that avoiding spanking and correcting misbehavior in other ways can help that happen."
The U.S based study analyzed the IQ scores of 1,510 children aged two to four, and five to nine, and compared them with their IQ scores four years later.
It found the younger children who were spanked scored an average of five points lower on their IQs, compared to other children in their age group whose parents did not believe in spanking. The older children that were studied, scored 2.8 points lower than children who were not spanked.
In an interview with the Gazette, researcher Murray Straus said, "To put it in a nutshell, corporal punishment slows down the rate of development of mental ability. All the kids got smarter because they got older, but the ones who were spanked, less so."
Spanking is a form of corporal punishment commonly used to discipline a child. It typically consists of an adult (usually a parent) striking a child's buttocks without producing physical injury.
In this study corporal punishment was defined as hitting a child, usually on the buttocks, at least three times a week, usually by the mother.
Straus said his study took into account other factors that may affect a child's mental development, such as "the family's socio-economic status and the parents' education levels," reports the Gazette.
He has also analyzed surveys done by nearly 18,000 students in 32 countries and found that, in general, countries with high average IQs were countries that had banned, or do not socially accept spanking.
There were some discrepancies in what was found in the surveys but they were explained by those countries placing such a high priority on academic achievement.
Straus said to Press TV, "The best kept secret of American child psychology is that kids who are not spanked are the best behaved and do the best in life."
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