A study released today in the journal Pediatrics found that men diagnosed as depressed were much more likely to spank their one-year-old children than men who reported no depression symptoms. Nearly 40 percent of men with depression admitted to spanking their child in the last month, with only 13 percent of men with no depression admitting to spanking their child.
Researchers said the finding was particularly troubling since all children in the study were one year of age. At that age, children are more likely to be physically injured during a spanking and are less likely to understand why they are being spanked, making it less effective as a punishment and more likely to have negative impact on the child.
While many studies have been done on the impact of depression on mothers, depression in fathers is less well studied. The researchers stated that depression among fathers is strongly tied to unemployment rates, which are much higher now than a decade ago, he said. Depressed fathers were also less likely to read to their child. Reading to children has been shown to positively effect their ability and affinity for reading later in life.
While many North American parents believe that spanking is an acceptable form of discipline, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against spanking children, as it can lead to aggression in the child later in life. If you are interested in exploring non-corporal means of punishment for your child, there are many resources available both on the web and in print.
Photo credit: KellyB on Flickr
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