Despite growing evidence that trauma experienced in childhood follows a person through life, and despite growing awareness of the horrors of childhood physical abuse, spanking remains a common disciplinary procedure around the world, including in the U.S.

In recent months, MASSAGE Magazine has reported on studies indicating that abuse in childhood could lead to arthritis, headache and other pain conditions later in life. Emotional and mental well-being is of concern as well.

Yet, corporal punishment of children remains common worldwide, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

“Spanking has declined in the U.S. since 1975 but nearly 80 percent of preschool children are still disciplined in this fashion,” a university press release noted. “

Some findings of the study include:

• Rates of harsh physical discipline revealed by the surveys were “dramatically higher” in all communities “than published rates of official physical abuse in any country.”

• Mothers with fewer years of education more commonly used physical punishment.

• Rates of corporal punishment vary widely among communities within the same country. For example, both the highest and lowest rates of hitting a child on the buttocks with an object (such as a paddle) were found in different communities in India. (About one quarter of respondents in the U.S. sample used this form of punishment.)

• Harsh punishment of children by parents is not less common in countries other than the U.S. It may be more common, especially in low and middle income countries.

The study is running online in the journal Pediatrics.

Related articles:
Childhood Abuse and Arthritis Related?

Childhood Behavior Linked to Adult Pain

Trauma Symptoms Linked to Feeling Threatened in Childhood

Abuse in Childhood Can Lead to Headaches in Adulthood

Happy Babies, Healthy Adults