Penn State: Physical abuse and punishment impact children’s academic performance

New research reaffirms link between corporal punishment and cognitive development in children, adding fuel to the argument that parents should be steered toward alternative methods of discipline.

New research from Penn State University has reaffirmed the affect of physical abuse and punishment on children's cognitive development and academic achievement, renewing researchers' appeals for addressing the issue with parents.

The study, conducted by Sarah Font, assistant professor of sociology and co-funded faculty member of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network, and Jamie Cage, assistant professor in Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Social Work, was published in the journal Child Abuse and Neglect.

Programs that reach parents during services that they regularly use may be one way to give them alternative punishment technique education. This could be a medical professional informing parents during a child’s health visit or staff members of an Early Head Start program providing parent education during the child’s enrollment. “Further research and efforts in these types of interventions needs to continue so we can learn more,” Font said.

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