A new study published by the website Pediatrics shows a link between spanking and the development of several disorders later in life. The study says that being slapped, pushed or hit as a child leads to an increased risk of mental illness. Adults who reported such treatment as children were reported as 6 percent of respondents who had higher risk of mood disorders, anxiety and alcohol or drug abuse.

The study finds an association between the two, but there is no proof that one is the cause of the other. Blacks, males and those from educated and wealthy families are most likely to report harsh physical abuse.

Some experts disagree with the study, arguing that spanking can be an appropriate way for parents to discipline children when done so within reason. Nearly 80 percent of American pre-school children are spanked, according to a 2010 University of North Carolina study.

A psychologist tells USA Today that the study “does nothing to move beyond correlations.”

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