Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N=3,870) and cross-lagged path analysis, the authors examined whether spanking at ages 1 and 3 is adversely associated with cognitive skills and behavior problems at ages 3 and 5. The authors found spanking at age 1 was associated with a higher level of spanking and externalizing behavior at age 3, and spanking at age 3 was associated with a higher level of internalizing and externalizing behavior at age 5. The associations between spanking at age 1 and behavioral problems at age 5 operated predominantly through ongoing spanking at age 3. The authors did not find an association between spanking at age 1 and cognitive skills at age 3 or 5.
© 2012 The Authors. Child Development © 2012 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.