Thursday, February 28, 2008

New bogus claim of spanking harm

USA Today reports:
Children whose parents spank them or otherwise inflict physical punishment may be more likely to have sexual problems later, according to research to be presented Thursday to the American Psychological Association.

The analysis of four studies by Murray Straus, co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire-Durham, suggests that children whose parents spanked, slapped, hit or threw objects at them may have a greater chance of physically or verbally coercing a sexual partner, engaging in risky sexual behavior or engaging in masochistic sex, including sexual arousal by spanking.

"It increases the chances of sexual problems," though "it's not a one-to-one causation," Straus says.
No, it is not. According to the article, 85% of USA kids have been spanked. In an unpublished survey on dating violence, 12.5% of students "likely to insist that their partner have unprotected sex" said that they have never been hit.

That 12.5% is not significantly different from the 15% of the general population who have not been spanked. This is bogus research from an 81-year-old sociology professor who has made a career out of ideological opposition to spanking. This latest research has not even been published. The new media should ignore it.

For some research that is favorable to spanking, see this.

USA Today quotes another anti-spanking zealot:
Elizabeth Gershoff, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, who reviewed 80 years of spanking research in 2002 in the APA's Psychological Bulletin, says Straus' work appears to be the first to link spanking with sexual problems.

Gershoff says that though many children have been spanked (85% in one 2007 survey), problems may depend on how they process the spanking.

"They may internalize that to mean that in loving relationships sometimes there's pain or physical aggression," she says. Another possible lesson is that "whoever is stronger and has more power can overpower the other person and use physical aggression to control the other person's behavior."
Yes, it is true that the strong can overpower the weak. That is a lesson that all kids need to learn.

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