The debate over spanking goes back many years
, but the essential question often evades discussion: Does spanking actually work? In the short term, yes. You can correct immediate misbehavior with a slap or two on the rear end or hand. But what about the long-term impact? Can spanking lead to permanent, hidden scars on children years later?
On Sept. 25, a sociologist from the University of New Hampshire, Murray Straus, presented a paper at the International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma in San Diego suggesting that corporal punishment does leave a long-lasting mark — in the form of lower IQ.
Straus, who is 83 and has been studying corporal punishment since 1969, found that kids who were physically punished had up to a five-point lower IQ score than kids who weren't — the more children were spanked, the lower their IQs — and that the effect could be seen not only in individual children but across entire nations as well. Among 32 countries Straus studied, in those where spanking was accepted, the average IQ of the survey population was lower than in nations where spanking was rare, the researcher says.