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Does Spanking Children Make Them Predisposed to Aggression?

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"...targeted intervention may be to reduce spanking across the board."

If you're a little boy with the right genetic composition and your parent uses spanking as a form of discipline, one study says you are more predisposed toward acts of aggression.

The research out of University of Texas-Dallas, Sam Houston State University and Florida State University that studied children nine months to five years old found that genetics do affect behavior problems and a tendency toward aggression. It also found that these tendencies were exacerbated when these children were spanked for doing wrong, but only in boys.

"We found that genetic factors affect which children display aggressive behavior, but we also found that genetic factors matter more when children were exposed to spanking as a disciplinary tactic,” said criminologist Dr.  J.C. Barnes, an assistant professor of criminology in the University of Texas School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, in the university's statement on the research.

“It did not affect females,” he said. “Males who were spanked and had the highest genetic risks displayed the most aggressive behavior compared to other males.”

The researchers classified aggression as tantrums and disruptive behavior.

Barnes believes that this study shows a time period in a child's life during the early, more formative years when a propensity for aggression could be reduced by limiting spanking as a form of discipline.

“Since we’re tracing back to early childhood, which is a formative time, that suggests interventions could be targeted to that early time point in the life course,” he said. “The targeted intervention may be to reduce spanking across the board.”

[H/T Science Daily]

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