Physical Punishment and Mental Disorders

Article from Pediatrics – the official journal of the American Academy of Paediatricians on the link between harsh punishment of children and “mental disorders”.

“…harsh physical punishment independent of child maltreatment is related to mental disorders”

Adds more to the evidence that growing up in a stressed environment leads to what gets labelled as mental illnesses. 

And rather than deal with that we simply dish out colourfull little pills for everyone to take.
note, It is only the abstract here but there’s also a link to a free pdf of the full article.


Physical Punishment and Mental Disorders: Results From a Nationally Representative US Sample

Published online July 2, 2012

Tracie O. AfifiNatalie P. Mota, MAd, Patricia Dasiewicz, MScb,  Harriet L. MacMillan, MD, FRCPCe, and  Jitender Sareen, MD, FRCPCa,b,d

BACKGROUND: The use of physical punishment is controversial. Few studies have examined the relationship between physical punishment and  a wide range of mental disorders in a nationally representative sample. The current research investigated the possible link between harsh physical punishment (ie, pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, hitting) in the absence of more severe child maltreatment (ie, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, exposure to intimate   partner violence) and Axis I and II mental disorders.

METHODS: Data were from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions collected between 2004 and 2005 (N = 34 653). The survey was conducted with a representative US adult population sample (aged ≥20 years). Statistical methods     included logistic regression models and population-attributable fractions.

RESULTS: Harsh physical punishment was associated with increased odds of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug abuse/dependence,  and several personality disorders after adjusting for sociodemographic variables and family history of dysfunction (adjusted  odds ratio: 1.36–2.46). Approximately 2% to 5% of Axis I disorders and 4% to 7% of Axis II disorders were attributable to  harsh physical punishment.

CONCLUSIONS: Harsh physical punishment in the absence of child maltreatment is associated with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse/dependence, and personality disorders in a general population sample. These findings inform the ongoing debate around the use of physical punishment and provide evidence that harsh physical punishment independent of child maltreatment is related to mental disorders.

Original at

Full text article free pdf

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