Adult Victims of Violence More Likely to Spank Children

Presence of intimate partner aggression or violence in family increases odds of corporal punishment

MONDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Corporal punishment (CP) is still a prevalent form of child discipline in the United States, and it appears to be meted out more often by adult victims of intimate partner aggression or violence (IPAV), according to research published online Aug. 23 in Pediatrics.

Catherine A. Taylor, Ph.D., of Tulane University in New Orleans, and colleagues analyzed 1,997 families in which parents reported on use of CP for 3-year-old children and IPAV. IPAV included both physical and nonphysical aggression as well as coercion.

The researchers found that 65 percent of children had been spanked at least once in the last month, and that in the 87 percent of couples reporting any family aggression, 54 percent reported incidents of both CP and IPAV. The most common patterns of co-occurrence involved aggression by both parents, toward each other (bilateral IPAV) or the child. In families with bilateral IPAV, the odds of one or both parents administering CP doubled.

"Despite American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations against the use of CP, CP use remains common in the United States. CP prevention efforts should carefully consider assumptions made about patterns of co-occurring aggression in families, given that adult victims of IPAV, including even minor, nonphysical aggression between parents, have increased odds of using CP with their children," the authors write.

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