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Spanking Worsens Aggressive Behavior in Children

Update Date: Dec 10, 2013 03:39 PM EST

Spanking worsens behavior in children, according to a new study.

Furthermore, parental affection after spanking will not help reduce the negative impact of the punishment.

"There is a common belief that spanking that occurs in a positive parent-child relationship will not be harmful to children," said researcher Shawna Lee, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work, according to MedicalXpress.

"We were able to test that belief in this study. Spanking predicted worse, not better, child behavior over time, regardless of how warm mothers were with their children," Lee added.

The latest study involved more than 3,200 white, African American and Hispanic families in major cities. The data was collected when children were ages 1, 3 and 5.  Researchers asked mothers how often they spanked their children and about their children's aggressive behavior and their own warmth toward their children.

The findings revealed that spanking just exacerbated aggressive behavior in children.

"Use of spanking is ineffective, and only further exacerbates aggressive child behaviors," Lee concluded.

The findings are published in the journal Developmental Psychology.

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