Genes, spanking linked to bad behavior

Feb. 29, 2012 at 3:42 PM
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HUNTSVILLE, Texas, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- Children with a genetic predisposition for antisocial behavior appeared to be most susceptible to the negative influences of spanking, a U.S. researcher said.

Study co-authors Drs. Courtney Franklin of Sam Houston State University, J.C. Barnes of The University of Texas at Dallas and Kevin M. Beaver of Florida State University suggested that genetic risk factors conditioned the effects of spanking on antisocial behavior

Interestingly, this gene-environment interaction appeared to be especially important for male participants but not female children in the sample, the researchers said.

Boutwell and colleagues examined the relationship between genetic risk factors for antisocial behavior and the use of corporal punishment in childhood. While prior research has linked the use of corporal punishment with aggression, psychopathology and criminal involvement, the study explored why not all children who were spanked developed such tendencies.

The findings were published in the journal Aggressive Behavior.

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