Most U.S. Parents Spank Preschoolers

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Aug. 10 (UPI) — Despite studies that show spanking can increase aggression in children and lower IQ points, 79 percent of U.S. preschool children are spanked, researchers said.

In addition, Dr. Desmond Runyan of the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center and colleagues found corporal punishment of children remains common worldwide, despite bans adopted in 24 countries since 1979.

“The findings are stark. Harsh treatment of children was epidemic in all communities. Our data support the conclusions that maltreatment occurs in all nations,” Runyan, the lead author, said in a statement.

The researchers, who conducted surveys in Egypt, India, Chile, the Philippines, Brazil and the United States to track international variations in corporal punishment, found rates of harsh physical discipline were dramatically higher in all communities surveyed compared with the published rates of official physical abuse in any country.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found the rates of corporal punishment vary widely within a country — in India, both the highest and lowest rates of hitting a child on the buttocks with an object such as a paddle, were found in different communities in India.

About one-quarter of respondents in the U.S. survey used an object to spank a child, the study said.

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