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For those who thought the supreme court protects the rights of all...

dj_jake_the_snake

TRIBE Member
The issue raised seems to be that spanking a child actually leads them to better behavior. Time and time again it has been proven that this is not true. Assaulting a child in a manner that includes spanking, any physical force against a child, has been proven to raise their aggression levels and shows them that they can use physical force at certain times. In the end if corporal punishment that is considered "reasonable" begins to occur on a regular basis the acceptance of violence as a means to an end will increase. I urge all of you that find certain forms of corporal punishment as okay because it will somehow deter an action over the long run to read up on child development, aggression, and corporal punishment as a learning technique.

Also the defenders of this bill are religious fanatics. The problem with these fanatics trying to push their unproven, unsuccessful agenda is that they believe in the saying "spare the rod spoil the child". This saying has proven to be wrong. Their reasoning fails under the microscope of scientific inquiry and is what they would call of other cultures "indigenous behavior". They fail to see the big picture and their reasoning is flawed. With little options in a progressively secular society they are left to using fear as a tactic;

"And I as a parent would certainly want to know that someone is going to intervene if my child was involved in an altercation," said Price."

They use fear, not reasoning to justify this claim. Teachers will always break up a fight between children 12 and under. Where does spanking and breaking up a fight come in to play? The law upholds that hitting a child in the face and other areas is not reasonable and when breaking up a fight a teacher may accidentally slap a child or twist his arm etc. etc. Therefore these two things, spanking and breaking up a fight are not correlated. Also look at the process that would be involved if a charge would be laid against a teacher that broke up a fight. Saying that the teacher did not use excessive force like punch one of the children, the police may use discretion when deciding to lay charges. What police officer will charge a teacher for upholding the morals of society that fighting is wrong between children? And saying that the parents of this child decide to pursue the matter to the courts they would never get a conviction unless some extremely callous force was used.

In the end reasoning has lost out and religious ignorance has won. What is left is the opportunity for citizens to voice their concerns to their member of parliament. The courts do not always protect citizens and sometimes it has to be left up to parliament. If the response is large enough your representatives will respond.

Another battle has just begun on another front. For those that pursue this victory, good luck, your resolve is admirable.



Spanking law confirmed by Supreme Court
Last Updated Fri, 30 Jan 2004 13:11:22
OTTAWA - Canada's top court has upheld a law allowing parents to spank their children, but also set guidelines outlining "reasonable limits" to the act.

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code that allows parents and school teachers to physically discipline children in their care by using "reasonable" force.

In its decision Friday, the court ruled that reasonable corrective force can be used against children between the ages of two and 12 years old.

The court said it was unacceptable to hit a child with an object, like a belt or paddle. Blows and slaps to the child's head would also be unacceptable.

For corporal punishment to be legally acceptable, it must involve only "minor corrective force of a transitory and trifling nature," the court ruled.


INDEPTH: Spanking


Ailsa Watkinson

Ailsa Watkinson, the Saskatchewan mother who began the legal challenge nine years ago, said she was disappointed in Friday's ruling. "'Don't hit a child on the head, don't use a ruler don't use a belt.' It seems so strange to me that we have to have a Supreme Court ruling setting those parameters," said Watkinson. "That just seems to be imminent good sense."

"And that's the problem with Section 43. It still gives us outs. It still allows the idea and perpetuates the notion that children are second-class citizens."

The Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law brought the case to the top court, seeking to strike down the law.

"I am very heartened by all those narrowings and restrictions, but I am somewhat disappointed that the court did not recognize children as human beings with equal rights," said the foundation's spokesperson Martha Mackinnon.

Lawyers for the children's organization argued that the Criminal Code provision is a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedom, and makes children "second class citizens."

"This case is about the right of children not to be hit, a right that in a modern, 21st-century democracy should be unquestioned," said lawyer Paul Schabas when he argued the case before the Supreme Court.

But the federal government argued Section 43 should stay in place, saying the law strikes a balance between the needs of parents and the rights of children.


JOIN THE DISCUSSION: Share your thoughts on this story

The Justice Department says it does not advocate spanking, but that repealing the law could make parents liable to criminal charges each time they spank their children.

Many teachers and education officials have defended keeping Section 43 as it is.

Terry Price of the Canadian Teachers Federation, another group that had intervenor status in the case, worried that repealing Section 43 could result in teachers being charged with assault for breaking up a schoolyard fight.

"And I as a parent would certainly want to know that someone is going to intervene if my child was involved in an altercation," said Price.

Section 43 of the Criminal Code was passed in 1892 and has been amended several times.

Michael Martens of Focus on the Family, an organization that supported the law, said he was "strongly encouraged" by the decision.

"The Supreme Court has recognized the need to protect parents in their role in raising children," said Martens. "Especially that they are not criminals."

The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld Section 43 in January 2002. The court ruled that parents and teachers are free to spank children for disciplinary purposes if they limit themselves to "reasonable force."
 

Hi i'm God

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by dj_jake_the_snake
The issue raised seems to be that spanking a child actually leads them to better behavior. Time and time again it has been proven that this is not true.
Prove it.
I was spanked, many other tribers where spanked and our parents and grandparenets where spanked. Socitiy hasnt fallen apart yet.
Have you looked at whats going in and out of grade 1-12 sinice this no spank idea has been in affect? CHAOS.
There is no way in hell I see these 7-15 year olds growing up and running our nucular reactors or running for politics.

I aggree guidlines should be in place. But the law should not be allowed to come and tell me how i can and cant raise my children. Like seriously next they'll come and say you cant feed your kids McDonalds cause it's harmful to them. Soon we'll be living like Demolition man and taco bell is the only resturant to eat at. No you try reasoning with a 5 yearold thats balling & throwing a tempertantum fit because the goverment wont let us feed kids bad things.
 

dj_jake_the_snake

TRIBE Member
^^^^^^^^^

You can always say that society is in a state of disrepair. This follows the "spare the rod spoil the child" mentality.

I didn't say that spanking leads to chaos I said it leads to the thinking that their are accepted forms of violence not just against children but in everyday life. A child doesn't say after being spanked "i was wrong" because hitting a child doesn't explain the action.
 

dj_jake_the_snake

TRIBE Member
Hormones and Behavior
Vol: 43 Issue: 1, January, 2003 Article Full Text PDF (93 KB)
pp: 237-244 Bibliographic Page
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PII: S0018506X02000089
Copyright © 2002 Elsevier Science (USA) All rights reserved.
Regular article
The hormonal costs of subtle forms of infant maltreatment
Daphne Blunt Bugentala, , , , Gabriela A. Martorella1 , Veronica Barrazaa
a. Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
Received 1 March 2002; accepted 10 September 2002
Abstract
We show here that subtle forms of maltreatment during infancy (below 1 year of age) have potential consequences for the functioning of the child´s adrenocortical response system. Infants who received frequent corporal punishment (e.g., spanking) showed high hormonal reactivity to stress (a repeated separation from mother, combined with the presence of a stranger). In addition, infants who experienced frequent emotional withdrawal by their mothers (either as a result of maternal depression, or mother´s strategic use of withdrawal as a control tactic) showed elevated baseline levels of cortisol. It was suggested that there are hormonal “costs” when mothers show response patterns (intentionally or unintentionally) that limit their utility as a means of buffering the child against stress. The hormonal responses shown by infants may alter the functioning of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis in ways that, if continued, may foster risk for immune disorders, sensitization to later stress, cognitive deficits, and social–emotional problems.



Article Outline:
1. Animal models
2. Early stress among humans

a. Effects of maternal harshness or unavailability early in life of humans
b. Design of study
3. Method and materials

a. Research participants
b. Measures
i. Conflict tactics scale (CTS)22As Spanish was the primary language of most participants, all instruments were translated (and back-translated) into Spanish by a native Spanish speaker. In addition, instruments were also available on audiotape, for use by parents who had limited reading skills.
ii. Beck depression inventory
iii. Creation of composite scales
iv. Adult cortisol production
v. Toddler behavior assessment questionnaire
vi. Child health history
vii. Children´s cortisol production
viii. Procedure
4. Results and discussion

a. Child and maternal characteristics as potential sources of influence on cortisol production
b. Mean levels of cortisol production
c. Intensity of maternal responses and children´s baseline cortisol levels
d. Intensity of maternal responses and children´s levels of cortisol reactivity
e. Limitations
f. Summary and implications
Acknowledgements
References

It has been convincingly established that maltreatment has negative consequences for the long-term cognitive and social–emotional welfare of children Margolin and Gordis 2000 . Traditionally, such consequences have been interpreted as due to interference with the child´s ability to learn adaptive response patterns. More recently, we have come to consider the possibility that such experiences may produce their effects partially as a function of changes in the functioning of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and associated deficits in brain development Bremner and Narayan 1998, Glaser 2000 .

Little is known, however, about the hormonal effects of parental responses that occur frequently but are not traditionally viewed as abusive. The two examples we study here are (1) maternal use of spanking and (2) maternal emotional unavailability/unresponsiveness. In this report, we assessed variations in the child´s production of a stress-related hormone (cortisol) in children as a function of these more subtle types of maltreatment in the first year of life.

1. Animal models
Relevant animals models have focused on the effects of early stress on the functioning of the HPA axis, along with associated changes in the brain. Although some of this literature has been concerned with the effects of nonsocial stress (e.g., prenatal noise), much research has been concerned with the effects of maternal responses to the young. At the most extreme level, early research demonstrated the long-term social and emotional deficits found in rhesus monkeys as a result of maternal absence (e.g., Suomi et al 1973 . On a short-term basis, rat pups separated from their mothers show declines in their level of calling but show continued distress in terms of elevated cortisol levels Levine et al 1993 . Another line of work with rats has shown the ways in which maternal behavior serves to buffer the young against the effects of stress—thus enhancing their capacity to cope with future stress. Beginning with the work of Levine 1957 , and followed with the work of Meaney and his colleagues (e.g., Meaney et al 1985, Francis et al 1999 , it has been shown that maternal behavior among rats (extensive licking and grooming) following stressful experience of pups (e.g., handling by a human) served to enhance their capacity to more easily habituate to future stress (i.e., show decreasing levels of adrenal cortisol release in response to repeated stress). The general finding within this research is that maternal factors are critical for the regulation of the young animal´s developing HPA system and their adaptive response to stress Levine 2001 .

In animal work (in rats, often as replicated with monkeys), experimental work demonstrated that the high level of glucocortoids that follows induced early stress leads to maladaptive changes in the functioning of the HPA axis McEwen et al 1992, Sapolsky 1996 . Although elevated cortisol release is an adaptive response to stress in the short term, it can have negative consequences over the long term Sapolsky 1996 . For example, elevated levels of glucocorticoids have been found to lead to loss of neurons in the hippocampus Russell 1990 and decreases in dendritic branching (e.g., Watanabe et al 1992 .

2. Early stress among humans
When extreme stress occurs early in the life of humans, the effects observed mirror those found among animals; that is, there are stress-induced changes in the hippocampus that follow dysregulation of the HPA axis. For example, children who experienced physical or sexual abuse—and subsequently experienced post-traumatic stress disorder—have been found to demonstrate reductions in the volume of the hippocampus and associated deficits in short-term memory. Such deficits are significantly related to the levels of abuse experienced Bremner and Narayan 1998 . In addition, hippocampal atrophy following early trauma is associated with such psychiatric disorders as major depression Stein et al 1997 . Trauma later in life has not been found to produce equivalent effects.

A history of maltreatment (a history that usually includes physical abuse) has often been found to be associated with reduced basal levels of cortisol and/or reduced adrenocortical reactivity (e.g., Cicchetti and Rogosch 2001a, Hart et al 1995 . However, there is also evidence that the long-term effects of maltreatment may follow a different course for different children. In some instances, for example, maltreatment may lead to elevated levels of cortisol production—elevations that are in turn associated with internalizing disorders of childhood Cicchetti and Rogosch 2001b . At the most general level, early maltreatment is associated with disruptions in the functioning of the HPA axis—both in terms of basal activity and stress reactivity.

2.a. Effects of maternal harshness or unavailability early in life of humans
In this paper, we consider the effects of two maternal response patterns that carry the potential for stress in infancy. The first involves maternal use of corporal punishment during infancy. Use of corporal punishment is common among parents in the U.S. Holden et al 1999 , in particular during early childhood Straus and Stewart 1999 . By age 1, 15 to 37% of infants in the U.S. have been spanked or slapped Holden et al 2002, Straus and Stewart 1999 . Although spanking at older ages has been found to have negative consequences for children´s later social behavior (e.g., Strassberg et al 1994 , little is known about its effects during infancy. Past research on the hormonal consequences of parenting tactics has focused on children´s responses to physical maltreatment (as summarized by Cicchetti and Rogosch 2001b , not on responses to nonabusive corporal punishment.

The second maternal response we study involves social–emotional unavailability. Unavailability may result from maternal depression, a response pattern in which the mother unintentionally withdraws attention from the child. Unavailability may also involve maternal withdrawal as an intentional control strategy (as reported by the mother). In both cases, mothers are emotionally unavailable to the child. Although the initial cause of the two patterns differs, the net effects may be similar. In both cases, the mother is unresponsive to the child´s attention bids. Maternal unresponsiveness has been shown to interfere with the child´s formation of secure attachment bonds (e.g., Crockenberg 1981, Goldberg et al 1994 . In these circumstances, children are less likely to be buffered against the effects of stress. For example, children who are insecurely attached to their mothers have higher levels of cortisol production in response to stress Gunnar et al 1996, Spangler and Schieche 1998 .

Most of our knowledge about the effects of maternal emotional unavailability derives from observations of families that include a depressed mother. Field 1986, Field 1994 has argued that maternal depression often serves to prevent the infant from developing the ability to engage in effective emotion regulation. Even the mother´s temporary appearance of apparent depression (“still face”) serves to elicit matched responses, as well as physiological signs of distress (e.g., increased heart rate) on the part of the child Weinberg and Tronick 1996 . When the mother is clinically depressed over a period of time, children may show physiological changes (e.g., changes in cortisol levels), accompanied by disruption of their social and emotion regulation capacities Field 1994 . Although maternal depression occurs without intent (and has no necessary implications for child problems), it increases the likelihood of emotional neglect.

When maternal withdrawal is employed as a control strategy, it may be thought of as involving “psychological or emotional maltreatment” Larrance and Twentyman 1983 . That is, it is consistent with the definition of emotional or psychological maltreatment as “any parental tactic that can have damaging emotional consequences for the child” McGee and Wolfe 1991, Nesbit 1991 . Although there has been extensive research on the effects of maternal unresponsiveness, little is known about the effects that follow when such unresponsiveness is used as an intentional control tactic.

2.b. Design of study
In this investigation, we addressed two central questions: (1) What are the effects of maternal use of corporal punishment and social–emotional unavailability on children´s baseline levels of cortisol production? (2) What are the effects of these two maternal patterns on children´s hormonal reactivity to stress? In measuring children´s response to stress, we selected the Strange Situation Ainsworth et al 1978 —a situation that involves repeated separations and re-unions with the mother, combined with the periodic presence of a stranger.

3. Method and materials
3.a. Research participants
Forty-four mothers of toddlers were recruited from a sample of women who had been identified during pregnancy as at risk for future child maltreatment (on the basis of such risk factors as low education, lack of social support, high stress, and mothers´ own history of abuse as children). The mean years of maternal education was 9.82 years, SD = 8.84. The mean age of mothers was 26.61 years (SD = 6.65). Eighty-nine percent of the families were Latino (50% of children born in Santa Barbara are Latino); the remaining families were either Anglo or of mixed ethnicity. Thirty percent of the families included only a mother. The child sample included 23 boys and 21 girls (mean AGE = 17.56 months, SD = 4.74).

As our sample was drawn from a low SES environment, it included children who were at more than usual risk for stress in their everyday lives. As demonstrated by Lupien et al 2001 , this may be expected to lead to relatively high salivary cortisol levels (in comparison with levels shown by higher SES children). Lupien et al. demonstrated that this pattern was particularly likely to be true in the years preceding the child´s transition from family to school. As a compounding factor, mothers in the low SES sample were also found by Lupien et al. to show higher levels of depression than did mothers in the high SES sample.

3.b. Measures
3.b.i. Conflict tactics scale (CTS)22As Spanish was the primary language of most participants, all instruments were translated (and back-translated) into Spanish by a native Spanish speaker. In addition, instruments were also available on audiotape, for use by parents who had limited reading skills.
The CTS Straus 1979 asks parents to report on the tactics they use in response to conflict with their children. The CTS was used to provide information on (1) frequency of legally nonabusive use of physical force, (2) frequency of physical abuse, and (3) reported frequency of strategic emotional withdrawal (physical withdrawal or not talking to the child as a means of managing conflict). The CTS items used to create the strategic emotional withdrawal scale were drawn from the existing “verbal abuse” scale of the CTS; all other items from the verbal abuse scale involve active verbal abuse (e.g., saying something spiteful).

The CTS asks for the frequency of occurrence of different ways of responding to family conflict. Reliability coefficients are 0.62 for the use of violent tactics and 0.77 for verbal abuse Straus and Gelles 1990 . “Violent” CTS items were divided into those that have been defined as physically abusive (e.g., hitting with a fist or object, beating up, kicking, biting) or those that involve nonabusive use of force (e.g., spanking or slapping). As spanking and slapping were the predominant examples of nonabusive use of force, we refer to “spanking/slapping” in describing these tactics. Within this sample, 18% of mothers reported engaging in at least one act of physical abuse, 34% reported using nonabusive force, and 50% reported engaging in emotional withdrawal as a conflict tactic.

3.b.ii. Beck depression inventory
The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) is a well-researched instrument that provides a 21-item assessment of depressive symptoms. Coefficient alphas assessing internal consistency range from 0.73 to 0.92. Correlations between the BDI and clinical ratings of depression range from 0.55 to 0.73 Beck et al 1988 .

3.b.iii. Creation of composite scales
Physically coercive tactics (abusive or nonabusive), as assessed by the CTS, were combined to create a “harsh parenting” score. This term will be used in describing any use of physical force. Frequency of abusive and nonabusive use of physical force (as based upon maternal report) were moderately related ( r = 0.47, P < 0.001).

Scores on the BDI and strategic withdrawal items of the CTS were combined to create a composite “emotional unavailability” score.3 A reasonably strong relationship was found between BDI and strategic withdrawal scores ( r = 0.53, P < 0.01). A moderate relationship was found between “harsh parenting” scores and “emotional unavailability” scores ( r = 0.43, P < 0.01).

3.b.iv. Adult cortisol production
Baseline levels of cortisol were obtained on all mothers. These measures were taken in order to determine the relationship between the cortisol levels of mothers and children. Saliva samples (minimum of 400 ml) were always taken midmorning to minimize circadian variation. Samples were obtained by asking the mother to spit into a small paper cup (after the experimenter had left the room) but in the presence of her child (used as a means of “normalizing” collection of saliva before efforts were made to obtain samples from the child). As a means of stimulating saliva flow, mothers were given sugarless gum to chew in advance of providing a sample. Saliva samples were pippeted into cryogenic vials. Assay procedures were the same as those used with children (described later).

3.b.v. Toddler behavior assessment questionnaire
Mothers completed the Toddler Behavior Assessment Questionnaire (TBAQ: Goldsmith 1996 . The TBAQ includes scales that assess infant activity level, anger, pleasingness, and fearfulness. High scores on activity and anger and low scores on pleasingness are combined to create a child “difficulty” score. Children´s composite “difficulty” scores and “fearfulness” scores were included as child variables that might be related to the production of stress hormones.

3.b.vi. Child health history
Children´s health history was measured primarily through the use of an interview that queried children´s frequency of illnesses during the first year of life (as described in Bugental et al ). Good interjudge agreement was found between parents ( r = 0.76) in their independent ratings of infants´ health history. In addition, infant birth records were obtained to determine children´s level of prematurity.

3.b.vii. Children´s cortisol production
A sterile 6-in. cotton dental roll was used for saliva collection. The tip of the cotton roll was lightly dusted with Kool-Aid crystals (cherry flavor), and was placed in the child´s mouth. The amount of Kool-Aid crystals did not exceed 1/16th of a teaspoon. The child was encouraged to chew on the roll until it was saturated with saliva and no visible crystals remained on the surface of the roll. If the child was reluctant to comply, the help of the mother was enlisted. The minimum volume of saliva was 200 ml for conducting assays in duplicate. Although concern has been expressed about the use of Kool-Aid due to the possibility of artificial elevation in cortisol levels Schwartz et al 1998 , this does not appear to pose a problem here in that (1) we used very small quantities of Kool-Aid and (2) the mean cortisol level was very low ( M = 0.10 mg/dl) and thus is unlikely to be inflated. Saturated cotton rolls were placed into a needleless syringe and saliva was expressed into a cryogenic vial.

Saliva samples were stored (in sealed vials) at -20°C. On the day of assay, samples were thawed and centrifuged at 2400 RPM for 30 min to separate mucins. Cortisol was measured using a commercially available radioimmunoassay (RIA) kit (Diagnostic Produces Corp., Los Angeles, CA), modified for detection of the hormone in saliva. Specifically, standards were diluted by a factor of 10 in order to measure the lower concentration of cortisol in saliva rather than blood. Furthermore, an additional standard (0.03 mg/dl) was added in order to increase the sensitivity of the assay for cortisol levels at the lower end of the standard curve.

Saliva samples were assayed in duplicate (and averaged to create the scores used in analyses). All samples from the same research participants were run in the same assay. Assay sensitivity was 0.03 mg/dl. Values from one research participant were eliminated as improbable (6.61 mg/dl). Cortisol concentrations that were greater than 3 SDs above the mean were eliminated as outliers (there was one such case). The average intra- and interassay coefficients of variation were 9.7 and 7.5%.

3.b.viii. Procedure
Initial measures (BDI, CTS, and Child Health History) were obtained from mothers when their child reached one year of age. Subsequently, mothers and children visited the lab some time during the child´s second year. The TBAQ was completed by mothers during this visit.

Initial saliva samples were taken from children and mothers 40 min following arrival (following an unstructured interaction with their children). These samples were then employed as a means of assessing children´s baseline (preseparation) cortisol levels.4 They were then taken to an adjoining room where children were exposed to the Strange Situation Ainsworth et al 1978 , a well-known stressor. The Strange Situation involves a sequence of events that includes the introduction of a stranger, an initial departure of the mother while the stranger is present, and the subsequent departure of the mother with no one else present with the child. The sequence also involves an initial reunion following the mother´s first departure, and a second reunion following the mother´s second departure.

A second saliva sample was taken 20 min following the conclusion of the Strange Situation (a delay of 15–20 min is expected between stimulus events and cortisol changes in the saliva). Elevation in cortisol level was used as an indicator of hormonal reactivity to stress.

4. Results and discussion
4.a. Child and maternal characteristics as potential sources of influence on cortisol production
Initial analyses were conducted to determine whether any significant relationships were present between maternal characteristics (age, education, marital status, baseline cortisol levels) or child characteristics (temperament, age, gender, health status, prematurity) and children´s baseline levels of cortisol or their reactivity to stress (i.e., elevations in cortisol levels following separation from the mother in a novel setting). Children´s baseline cortisol levels were covaried in determining the relationship between cortisol reactivity and other measures. As only one of these effects (infant´s preterm status) reached significance, it was concluded that demographic effects and history do not pose viable competing explanations for effects observed as a function of parenting variables (maternal harshness or unavailability).

4.b. Mean levels of cortisol production
A preliminary analysis was conducted to determine whether children´s production of cortisol was influenced by the simple presence or absence (as opposed to intensity) of maternal harshness or unavailability. Differences were tested in mixed-design ANOVAs that included maternal response patterns (presence or absence of any reported instances of harsh parenting, presence or absence of maternal unavailability5 ) as a between-subjects factor and time (pre–post measures of cortisol) as a within-subjects factor. No significant effects or trends were found for maternal harshness. For maternal unavailability, the only effect that approached significance was a main effect for maternal unavailability, F(1, 35) = 3.15, p = 0.08. Children of “unavailable” mothers produced higher levels of cortisol across time ( M = 0.13 mg/dl, SD = 0.11) than did children of “available” mothers ( M = 0.08 mg/dl, SD = 0.06).

4.c. Intensity of maternal responses and children´s baseline cortisol levels
A multiple regression analysis was conducted to determine the relationship between maternal variables as predictors of children´s baseline level of cortisol production. Due to the skewed distribution of harsh parenting scores, scores were converted to log transformations of frequency scores. As can be seen in - Table: [ 1], only the mother´s emotional withdrawal served as a significant predictor of children´s basal cortisol levels.


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Table 1: Maternal responses as predictors of children´s baseline cortisol levels: a regression analysis

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Follow-up analyses were conducted to determine the independent relationship between the two components of emotional unavailability and children´s baseline level of cortisol production. Significant correlations were found between strategic emotional withdrawal, as measured by the CTS, and children´s cortisol levels ( r = 0.37, P < 0.01), as well as between mothers´ BDI scores and children´s cortisol levels ( r = 0.57, p < 0.001). Power analyses (one-tailed tests) reveal that the observed effects for strategic withdrawal are “medium” (power = 0.51) and the observed effects for maternal depression are “large” (power = 0.94) for maternal depression. Therefore, it appears that significant effects occurred as a result of either intentional or unintentional emotional unavailability on the part of mothers. However, effects were stronger for maternal depression.

In short, higher baseline levels of cortisol were shown by children whose mothers showed a high level of emotional unavailability—either as an intentional tactic or as a side effect of her own depressed state. Elevated baseline levels of cortisol may be thought of as reflecting children´s characteristic levels of HPA activity. Hypercortisolism at later ages has been found to be associated with internalizing problems Cicchetti and Rogosch 2001b . If mothers are emotionally unavailable to their children, they limit their utility as a buffer against the infant´s demands of everyday life. In the short term, however, it may be that children´s elevated production of cortisol represents an adaptive way of coping with unbuffered stress.

Although it is possible that early differences in children´s temperament patterns or early health history may foster differences in maternal response, this would not seem likely in this case. That is, children´s temperament patterns and health history were not found to be associated with their patterns of cortisol production. It is more probable that the observed pattern of hypercortisolism occurred in reaction to the mother´s unavailability. It may be that such children are generally vigilant as a result of the emotional absence of their mothers.

4.d. Intensity of maternal responses and children´s levels of cortisol reactivity
A hierarchical regression analysis was conducted to determine the relationship between intensity of harsh parenting, intensity of maternal unavailability, and children´s hormonal reactivity to stress (i.e., their levels of cortisol production following repeated separation from their mother, combined with the presence of a stranger). In order to control for individual variability between children, the effects of baseline levels of cortisol production were co-varied. This analysis strategy allows an assessment of the relationship between parenting responses and children´s hormonal response to stress in a manner that cannot be accounted for by initial differences between children. This approach is typically viewed as more defensible than a change score approach (differences between pre- and postmeasures) when there is a substantially positive relationship between pre- and postmeasures (the correlation found here was 0.72). That is, this approach allows an appropriate control for initial values and is typically more sensitive than the change score approach Russell 1990 .

Children´s baseline level of cortisol was entered at Step 1, and the two maternal variables were entered at Stop 2. Postinduction cortisol levels constituted the dependent variable. As can be seen in - Table: [ 2], only the mother´s use of harsh parenting tactics served as a significant predictor of children´s increases in cortisol levels. In a secondary analysis, child prematurity (the only child variable found to be significantly related to cortisol reactivity) was introduced as a covariate; the observed effect of harsh parenting was unchanged.


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Table 2: Maternal responses as predictors of children´s production of cortisol in response to stress: a hierarchical regression analysis

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A follow-up analysis was conducted to determine the differential hormonal reactions shown to maternal spanking/slapping versus physical abuse. When baseline levels of cortisol were statistically controlled, frequency of spanking/slapping served as a significant predictor of postseparation cortisol levels (partial r = 0.53, P = 0.001); no equivalent effect was found for frequency of physical abuse (partial r = 0.20, ns). A power analysis (one-tailed test) for the spanking/slapping data reveals a “strong” effect (power = 0.87). The weaker effects found for abuse may have reflected range restriction on this variable.

These findings suggest that very early use of corporal punishment fosters heightened stress when the child is confronted with a novel and potentially frightening event—in this case, the presence of a stranger following the departure of the parent. Children´s hormonal reactivity in this setting may be seen as reflecting their vulnerability to unexpected, challenging, or novel life events. When mothers make use of physically punitive tactics at an age when children are as yet unable to regulate their behavior effectively, children appear to become more susceptible to the effects of stressful events. To the extent that elevated levels of reactivity continue, reductions in the child´s ability to cope with future stress nay be anticipated.

As a competing explanation of these findings, it may be that some infants initially show HPA hyperreactivity—thus posing a more difficult stimulus to parents. As a result, they may be more likely to be targeted for harsh control tactics. Although this explanation cannot be ruled out, it is seen as less tenable due to the fact that no relationship was found here between mothers´ perceptions of the child´s temperament and children´s HPA reactivity.

4.e. Limitations
Our findings are limited in a number of ways. The sample is limited in size and biased in composition. At the same time, the biased nature of the composition (maternal childhood history of maltreatment, and high levels of environmental stress) may actually have provided a particularly useful window, in that adrenocortical reactivity of the young was observed in a population that was particularly likely to have experienced early stress. Such stress would be expected as a combined function of the family´s environment (poverty, combined with low education and lack of facility in the dominant language) and the elevated prevalence of child maltreatment within this group. Nonetheless, replication is needed with other populations.

As an additional limitation, the average levels and changes in cortisol levels were low; thus, there was little true manifestation of hyperadrenocortical reactivity. Children only showed clear reactivity to stress when they had experienced very high levels of maternal harshness. This range restriction provides a second reason why replication of findings is needed.
 

dj_jake_the_snake

TRIBE Member
4.f. Summary and implications
Infants´ hormonal responses were shown here to be reactive to subtle forms of parental maltreatment. Mothers who were emotionally unavailable (either due to depression or their use of withdrawal as a control tactic) were more likely to have children who demonstrated higher baseline levels of cortisol. Mothers who reported using physically harsh discipline were more likely to have children who were hyperreactive to stress.

When very young children experience hypercortisolism and/or hyperreactivity to stress, there are maladaptive changes in physiological systems designed to manage stress, for example, the HPA axis. Granger et al 1994 have demonstrated the presence of individual differences in the HPA reactivity of very young children to social challenge. Our findings suggest one possible source of such variation. When exposed to repeated stress early in life, children may come to experience “allostatic load” McEwen and Seeman 2000 . That is, they may experience maladaptive wear and tear on their physiological response systems that are activated in response to stress. As a result, children are less able to habituate to new events, or to regulate their own emotional reactions in adaptive ways. In the best circumstances, parents allow children to confront such events in ways that facilitate recovery and “growth”; that is, young children become increasingly able to cope with an expanding world when they are socially supported by their parents in their response and recovery from stress-inducing events within that world.

The mother´s emotional unavailability or use of corporal punishment when children are very young carries a risk of later “costs.” In future research, it will be important to determine if the disruptions in normative functioning of the HPA axis—as observed here—go on to mediate these same negative care-giving outcomes at later ages. In other research (Bugental et al., 2002), we have shown that the kinds of adverse parenting responses shown here decline when “at risk” parents are the beneficiaries of home visitation early in the child´s life. The long-term gains would be expected to include the child´s recovery of more normative functioning of the HPA axis.[ Uno et al 1989 ]

Acknowledgements
We express our appreciation to David Beaulieu, who assisted in conducting the hormonal assays reported here. Portions of this research were conducted as part of the doctoral dissertation completed by Gabriela Martorell. This research was supported by NIMH Grant 5 R01 MH19095 and NSF Grant BNS 9021221.
1. Gabriela Martorell is now at Portland State University.
2. As Spanish was the primary language of most participants, all instruments were translated (and back-translated) into Spanish by a native Spanish speaker. In addition, instruments were also available on audiotape, for use by parents who had limited reading skills.
3. When combining the two scales (BDI and “emotional withdrawal” items of the CTS) to create an “intensity” score, both scores were converted to z-scores. If one of the two scores was missing, a z-score of 0 was substituted for the missing value.
4. It needs to be recognized that these initial differences may have reflected children´s reactions to their mothers during this initial interaction; past work has suggested that children´s cortisol levels may show small increases during their interaction with less sensitive mothers Goldberg et al 1994 . As children had been interacting with their mothers during a long car ride (approximately 1 h) preceding their arrival at the lab, this interaction represented a continuation of their normative experiences (children in the sample were cared for at home and had few separations from mothers).
5. The “presence” or “absence” of unavailability was defined in terms of the presence or absence of any instances of a mother´s use of withdrawal as a control tactic, or maternal depression levels that exceeded median values on the BDI.

References
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Beck, A.T., Steer R.A., Garbin M.G., "Psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory", Clin. Psychol. Rev., Volume: 8, (1988), pp. 77-100 Bibliographic Page Full text

Bremner, J., Narayan M., "The effects of stress on memory and the hippocampus throughout the life cycle - implications for childhood development and aging", Dev. Psychopath., Volume: 10, (1998), pp. 871-885

Bugental, D.B. Ellerson P.C. Lin E.K. Rainey B. Kokotovic A. O´Hara N. 2002. A cognitive approach to child abuse prevention. J. Fam. Psychol. 16 243–258

Cicchetti, D., Rogosch F.A., "Diverse patterns of neuroendocrine activity in maltreated children", Dev. Psychopath, Volume: 13, (2001), pp. 677-693

Cicchetti, D., Rogosch F.A., "The impact of child maltreatment and psychopathology on neuroendocrine functioning", Dev. Psychopath, Volume: 13, (2001), pp. 783-804

Crockenberg, S.B., "Infant irritability, mother responsiveness, and social support influences on the security of infant–mother attachment", Child Dev., Volume: 52, (1981), pp. 857-865

Field, T., "The effects of mother´s physical and emotional unavailability on emotion regulation", Monogr. Soc. Res. Child Dev., Volume: 59, Issue: 2–3 (1994), pp. 208-227 250–283

Field, T., "Models for reactive and chronic depression in infancy", New Dir. Child Dev., Volume: 34, (1986), pp. 47-60

Francis, D., Diorio J., Liu D., Meaney M.J., "Nongenomic transmission across generations of maternal behavior and responses of the rat", Science, Volume: 286, (1999), pp. 1155-1158

Glaser, D., "Child abuse and neglect and the brain—A review", Child Psychol. Psychiatry Allied Disciplines, Volume: 41, (2000), pp. 97-116

Goldberg, S., MacKay-Soroka S., Rochester M., "Affect, attachment, and maternal respoinsiveness", Infant Behav. Dev., Volume: 17, (1994), pp. 335-339 Bibliographic Page Full text

Goldsmith, H.H., "Studying temperament via construction of the Toddler Behavior Assessment Questionnaire", Child Dev., Volume: 67, (1996), pp. 218-235

Granger, D.A., Stansbury K., Henker B., "Preschoolers´ behavioral and neuorendocrine responses to social challenge", Merrill-Palmer Q., Volume: 40, (1994), pp. 20-41

Gunnar, M.R., Brodersen L., Nachmias M., Buss K., Rigatuso J., "Stress reactivity and attachment security", Dev. Psychobiol., Volume: 29, (1996), pp. 192-204

Hart, J., Gunnar M., Cicchetti D., "Altered neuroendocrine activity in maltreated children related to depression", Dev. Psychopath., Volume: 8, (1995), pp. 201-214

Holden, G.W. Buck M.J. and Stickels A.M. (2002). A four-year longitudinal study of the onset of disciplinary practices. Manuscript in preparation. University of Texas Austin

Holden, G.W., Miller P.C., Harris S.D., "The instrumental side of corporal punishment - parents´ reported practices and outcome expectancies", J. Marriage Fam., Volume: 61, (1999), pp. 908-919

Larrance, D.T., Twentyman C.T., "Maternal attributions and child abuse", J. Abnorm. Psychol., Volume: 92, (1983), pp. 449-457

Levine, S., "Infantile experience and resistance to physiological stress", Science, Volume: 126, (1957), pp. 405

Levine, S., "Primary social relationships influence the development of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis in the rat", Physiol. Behav., Volume: 13, (2001), pp. 255-260 Bibliographic Page Full text

Levine, S., Wiener S.G., Coe C.L., "Temporal and social factors influencing behavioral and hormonal responses to separation in mother and infant squirrel monkeys", Psychoneuroendocrinology, Volume: 18, (1993), pp. 297-306 Bibliographic Page Full text

Lupien, S.J., King S., Meaney M.J., McEwen B.S., "Can poverty get under your skin? Basal cortisol levels and cognitive function in children from low and high socioeconomic levels", Dev. Psychopath., Volume: 13, (2001), pp. 653-676

Margolin, G., Gordis E.B., "The effects of family and community violence on children", Annu. Rev. Psychol, Volume: 51, (2000), pp. 445-479

McEwen, B.S., Angulo J., Cameron H., Chao H.M., Daniels D., Gannon M.N., Gould E., Mendelson S., Sakai R., Spencer R., Woolley C., "Paradoxical effects of adrenal steroids on the brain - protection versus degeneration", Biol. Psychiatry, Volume: 31, (1992), pp. 177-199 Bibliographic Page Full text
 
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dj_jake_the_snake

TRIBE Member
this is obviously only one study. If you are further interested in this subject the library is a great place that has many well researched journal articles on the subject.

If I had the time I would find a bunch and post them. Unfortunately I have assignments to complete and mid-terms to study for. Happy hunting.
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
I agree with dj_jake_the_snake, virtually every study concludes that those who grow up with force as a disciplinary measure leads to behavioral issues later in life. Those who lobby for a rightful use of force are those from groups who are either right-wing authoritarian, or religious. To me the use of force sometimes is indicative of overwhelming frustration & stress.. but for the most part is indicative of a weak and uncreative mind, and no amount of law will augment that.

However, given all that shit, I still believe the use of force as a disciplinary measure should still be the choice of the parent. A child's safety is still guaranteed under the charter of rights & freedoms, and if there are those out there that believe this backwards form of discipline is correct, then so be it. Otherwise you open a whole new set of conflicts where parents may be wrongfully charged for inconsequential behavior.
 

Aeryanna

TRIBE Member
I was spanked when I was younger and I consider myself a well adjusted individual. For that matter a lot of my friends were also spanked at one point or another when growing up and they've all turned out just fine. For every study that comes out saying that spanking has negative pshycological consequences, you're sure to find another study that says it doesn't.

Reasons for NOT making spanking illegal:
On one hand I don't think a law should be passed banning parents from spanking their kids. Its a personal decision that needs to be made on an individual basis. I've worked as a camp counsellor in summer camps for the past few summers and I can honestly say that some of the kids there copping an attitude didn't suffer from anything that a good spanking wouldn't cure.

Reasons for making spanking illegal:
On the other hand, if we don't make spanking illegal some parents might take the right to spank their children too far. (It may start with spanking and escalate from there to something extremely abusive). Another problem is the varying definitions of spanking. What's spanking to one parent may be physical abuse to another.

Unfortunately, in the end since we can't trust everyone to use common sense and good judgement (You have to work under the assumption that everyone's dense and go from there) it might be better to blanket the whole situation and make spanking illegal. Obviously there exist people out there that won't abuse the law but clearly you can't count on everyone to do that, so to be on the safe side its preferable to make spanking illegal. This way you risk nothing.
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by OTIS
To me the use of force sometimes is indicative of overwhelming frustration & stress.. but for the most part is indicative of a weak and uncreative mind, and no amount of law will augment that.
You cannot look at the act of spanking in isolation. To suggest that spanking is inconsistent with good (and "creative") parenting is to ignore the context in which many parents use disciplinary action. You will notice that in any debate about spanking, there will always be people (myself included) who point out how they developed into perfectly fine adults even though they were spanked as children. The reason is that overall parenting attitudes and approaches are more important to childhoold development than a simplistic dividing line between spanking and not spanking.
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
I was (I wouldn't say spanked cuz that makes it sound soft compared to what I got) disciplined with force as a child.. and will make the choice never to use the same method on my children. I felt alienated from my dad when I was younger.. I only saw him as an authoritarin barrier to certain parts of my emotional development.. I was never explained reasoning behind the authoritarianism, and only really saw it as the path of least resistence when having to discipline a child, never as somehting constructively correcting. I don't regret the way I turned out.. but I have barriers with my parents today as a result.. and they are difficult to overcome.
 
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PosTMOd

Well-Known TRIBEr
Just because many children who were spanked grew up fine doesn't automatically make it good.

That's the stupidest argument anyone could make. As a matter of fact, if you are making that argument, and you were spanked, it is conclusive evidence that spanking has at least made you too stupid to understand that spanking is unnecesary.

Nobody is saying,"Spanking a child makes them fucked up."

They are saying,"Spanking is 100% unnecessary."

Simple as that. And if you can't understand that, perhaps you ought to kill youself, since you are too fucking stupid to live.
 

Aeryanna

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by PosTMOd
Just because many children who were spanked grew up fine doesn't automatically make it good. That's the stupidest argument anyone could make. As a matter of fact, if you are making that argument, and you were spanked, it is conclusive evidence that spanking has at least made you too stupid to understand that spanking is unnecesary.

Umm....right.
No one is saying spanking is automatically "good."
I guess you didn't read the article that said: "It has been convincingly established that maltreatment has negative consequences for the long-term cognitive and social–emotional welfare of children (Margolin and Gordis 2000) "

In case it isn't readily apparent, you can never prove something conclusively by repeating a test or study an indefinite number of times. You can only disprove it by showing one or more contridictions. That's why people are making the statement that although they were spanked, they've still managed to function as well adjusted people.

Nobody is saying,"Spanking a child makes them fucked up."
That's exactly what they're saying. Read the article.
 

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by OTIS
Those who lobby for a rightful use of force are those from groups who are either right-wing authoritarian, or religious.

Thats a pretty narrow view on it don't you think. I know you have a political enemy and everything is an us versus them but lets be a little realistic here.

I'm agains abusing children, but I don't equate a child getting slapped with abuse. If a child is spanked every day or every week or every month I'll be the first to say its abusive.

If a child is 12 and remembers being spanked a grand total of three times than I'm tempted to say that nothing so horrible has occured. I'm not suggesting that spanking can be admiinistered by anyone who isn't the parents. But if your ex-wife spanks your child while they are with her, I don't see it as a criminal matter either.

A school yard scrum between two 7 year oild boys is not assault and its not a criminal matter. We need to apply common sense to the laws when dealing with minors.
 

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by PosTMOd
"Spanking is 100% unnecessary."



I agree it is unnecessary. But do you fault a parent who breaks down and falls to it. Do we need the supreme court to ban it outright and police our homes.

I'm the first to say spanking can be abusive, but I don't see my nephew getting a smack by my sister as being abuse. Its happened a grand total of twice that I know of. Neither time would I argue that my sister was entirely of sound mind and body.


When does a spank become abuse?
 

starr

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Ditto Much
I'm agains abusing children, but I don't equate a child getting slapped with abuse. If a child is spanked every day or every week or every month I'll be the first to say its abusive.
But the law can't do anything to stop a child from being spanked every day because the Supreme Court didn't add that handy guideline.

They have just set up rules that men that beat their wives regularly already know. You can do all the hitting you want, as long as you don't leave any obvious bruises. Sadly, unlike grown women, kids can't really run away.

Get it?
 
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OTIS

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Ditto Much
Thats a pretty narrow view on it don't you think. I know you have a political enemy and everything is an us versus them but lets be a little realistic here.
Actually no, it's a fact, if you look at the groups who are lobbying to keep spanking on the books, they are Socially right wing religious based "family solidarity" groups. They did a run off of them on Radio One the other day.
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Ditto Much
I agree it is unnecessary. But do you fault a parent who breaks down and falls to it. Do we need the supreme court to ban it outright and police our homes.

I'm the first to say spanking can be abusive, but I don't see my nephew getting a smack by my sister as being abuse. Its happened a grand total of twice that I know of. Neither time would I argue that my sister was entirely of sound mind and body.


When does a spank become abuse?
I agree with this.. I think spanking nowadays is the symptom of ignorance & lack of self control. BUT, I don't think it's criminal, nor do I think a parent spanking a child should be viewed as criminal.
 
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