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Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

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Message ID: 8016
Date: 2009-01-16

Author:Murray A. Straus

Subject:RE: child trauma

Dear Todd & List: The most pervasive, and also the most ignored child trauma, is being hit by parents in the name of "discipline." Our national surveys and other studies have found that at least a third of parents hit infants -- typically a slap on the hand for touching something forbidden or dangerous or for repeatedly pushing food off a high chair tray. The percentage increases to over 90% for spanking or slapping toddlers. American culture (and most others) define this as harmless if done "in moderation" by loving parents. However, the empirical evidence indicates the harmlessness is a cultural myth. Below is a list of some of the studies providing the evidence indicating that being hit by parents is a traumatic experience for children, and that it has the typical effects of being a victim of a traumatic experience. All of the studies are available in the Corporal Punishment Papers section of my website http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2 These studies, which can be downloaded from my website, have found that more corporal punishment, the greater the probability of: * Post traumatic stress symptoms (paper CP67 - paper in preparation, but preliminary Power Point is on my website) * Slower than average growth in cognitive ability (paper CP51R) * Antisocial behavior (paper CP24) * Depressive symptoms (paper CP03) * Physical violence to dating and marital partners later in life (paper CP23) * A summary of longitudinal studies which help establish the causal direction (paper CP41) The "effect sizes" for the above are low, but because corporal punishment is experienced by over 90% of American children, the cumulative adverse effect on American children and American society is very large (see page 212 of attached paper CP41 on Benefits of Never Spanking). Also of interest may be the following on my website * National survey showing that 94% of parents hit toddlers, at least occasionally (paper CP36) * Article documenting the neglect in the scholarly literature of research showing harmful effects of corporal punishment (paper CP65) I also recommend the following excellent meta analysis: Gershoff, E. T. (2002). Corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviors and experiences: A meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 539-579. Best, Murray Murray A. Straus Professor of Sociology and Co-Director Family Research Laboratory University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824 603-862-2594 Fax: 603-862-1122 murray.straus@unh.edu Copies of many of my papers and some out-of-print books can be downloaded from my website http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2 . For information about the Family Research Laboratory, conferences, and bibliographies of publications by members of the laboratory log into www.unh.edu/frl From: bounce-3453666-6832966@list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-3453666-6832966@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Todd McDonald Sent: 2009-01-12 11:12 To: child-maltreatment-research-l@list.cornell.edu Subject: child trauma List members, could someone point me towards some of the most recent empirical studies of child trauma? We recently purchased the child welfare trauma training toolkit, but would like our staff to read a few articles about trauma in advance. Todd McDonald

Dear Todd & List: The most pervasive, and also the most ignored child trauma, is being hit by parents in the name of "discipline." Our national surveys and other studies have found that at least a third of parents hit infants -- typically a slap on the hand for touching something forbidden or dangerous or for repeatedly pushing food off a high chair tray. The percentage increases to over 90% for spanking or slapping toddlers. American culture (and most others) define this as harmless if done "in moderation" by loving parents. However, the empirical evidence indicates the harmlessness is a cultural myth. Below is a list of some of the studies providing the evidence indicating that being hit by parents is a traumatic experience for children, and that it has the typical effects of being a victim of a traumatic experience. All of the studies are available in the Corporal Punishment Papers section of my website http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2 These studies, which can be downloaded from my website, have found that more corporal punishment, the greater the probability of: * Post traumatic stress symptoms (paper CP67 - paper in preparation, but preliminary Power Point is on my website) * Slower than average growth in cognitive ability (paper CP51R) * Antisocial behavior (paper CP24) * Depressive symptoms (paper CP03) * Physical violence to dating and marital partners later in life (paper CP23) * A summary of longitudinal studies which help establish the causal direction (paper CP41) The "effect sizes" for the above are low, but because corporal punishment is experienced by over 90% of American children, the cumulative adverse effect on American children and American society is very large (see page 212 of attached paper CP41 on Benefits of Never Spanking). Also of interest may be the following on my website * National survey showing that 94% of parents hit toddlers, at least occasionally (paper CP36) * Article documenting the neglect in the scholarly literature of research showing harmful effects of corporal punishment (paper CP65) I also recommend the following excellent meta analysis: Gershoff, E. T. (2002). Corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviors and experiences: A meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 539-579. Best, Murray Murray A. Straus Professor of Sociology and Co-Director Family Research Laboratory University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824 603-862-2594 Fax: 603-862-1122 murray.strausunh.edu Copies of many of my papers and some out-of-print books can be downloaded from my website http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2 . For information about the Family Research Laboratory, conferences, and bibliographies of publications by members of the laboratory log into www.unh.edu/frl From: bounce-3453666-6832966list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-3453666-6832966list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Todd McDonald Sent: 2009-01-12 11:12 To: child-maltreatment-research-llist.cornell.edu Subject: child trauma List members, could someone point me towards some of the most recent empirical studies of child trauma? We recently purchased the child welfare trauma training toolkit, but would like our staff to read a few articles about trauma in advance. Todd McDonald