Washington, Jan 29: Spanking children as an effective form of discipline could lead to short- and long-term child behavior problems, a new study has found.
Child psychologist George Holden, who favours humane alternatives to corporal punishment, wanted to see if parents' positive views toward spanking could be reversed if they were made aware of the research.
Holden and three colleagues at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, used a simple, fast, inexpensive method to briefly expose subjects to short research summaries that detailed spanking's negative impact.
Carrying out two studies, one with non-parents and one with parents, Holden and his co-authors on the research found that attitudes were significantly altered.
"Parents spank with good intentions - they believe it will promote good behavior, and they don't intend to harm the child. But research increasingly indicates that spanking is actually a harmful practice," Holden said.
"These studies demonstrate that a brief exposure to research findings can reduce positive corporal punishment attitudes in parents and non-parents," he said.
The researchers believe that the study is the first of its kind to find that brief exposure to spanking research can alter people's views toward spanking.
The findings have been published in the international journal of Child Abuse and Neglect. (ANI)