Children who are smacked are more likely to have mental health issues
People who were smacked during their childhood are more likely to develop mental health issues during adulthood according to a study carried out by Canadian researchers.
The study, which was released on Monday, is the first of its kind to analyse the long-term psychological impact that physical discipline can have on a person.
Children who are physically punished are between two and seven per cent more likely to encounter mood and anxiety issues later in life.
The study also revealed that children who are smacked regularly during childhood are more inclined to have problems with drug and alcohol abuse.
Although the figure is quite small, experts in the USA say the study is extremely significant.
"The study is valuable because it opens the conversation about parenting," said Victor Fornari, director of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in New York.
The rate "is not dramatically higher, but it is higher, just to suggest that physical punishment is a risk factor for developing more mental disturbances as an adult," said Mr Fornari.
A previous study reported that 11 percent of Irish mothers smack their children from “time to time” while 58 percent said they never use smacking as a discipline tool.