Slapping and hitting kids could make them more inclined to antisocial behavior in adulthood, reports a new study. The findings of the study are published in the journal JAMA Network Open.
Harsh physical punishment (pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping and hitting), maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, emotional neglect, physical neglect and exposure to intimate partner violence) and a combination of the two during childhood were all associated with antisocial behaviors in adulthood among men and women.
‘Preventing child maltreatment and harsh physical punishment in childhood may reduce the antisocial behaviors among kids when they grow up.’
This observational study used data on about 36,000 adults in the general U.S. population.
The authors admitted their study was limited as it was cross-sectional study and that the adults were asked to retrieve their childhoods which could make details incorrect.
However, they said those developing strategies to decrease violence rates should still be counted as the role that physical punishment could play, as well as severe child maltreatment. They argued that this should be a public health priority.
Authors suggest prevention efforts to eliminate harsh physical punishment and maltreatment in childhood should be a public health priority to reduce antisocial behavior among adults.