Parents who engage in domestic violence are most likely to spank their children, a new American study has claimed.
The study, one of the first to analyse whether children of fighting couples get spanked, found that many parents in the US spank their kids and feel it is a justified and appropriate form of discipline.
Researchers from Tulane University found that the odds of both parents spanking a child were almost double when either parent was a victim of interpersonal violence or aggression.
When both parents were victims of violence, it was found that the odds that the child was spanked were more than double, the Los Angeles Times reported.
For their study, the researchers analysed data from a large, national study of almost 2,000 families who are part of the national Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study.
The study focuses on children born in large US cities between 1998 and 2000 to unmarried parents, who are at greater risk of breaking up and living in poverty than more traditional families.
The parents were interviewed about domestic violence, including physical violence or verbal or psychological abuse, as well as any history of spanking children at age three.
The researchers found that 65 per cent of the children were spanked by one or both parents — 12.7 per cent by the father, 23.5 per cent by the mother and 29.1 per cent by both — in the previous month.
It’s likely that any violence in a family starts small and spirals, the authors suggested, detailing their study in the journal Pediatrics .
"The presence of even minor forms of aggression between parents, such as criticism and controlling behaviours, were linked with increased odds of using corporal punishment with young children," they wrote.