The new issue of *Psychological Science* includes an article: “Known Risk Factors for Violence Predict 12-Month-Old Infants’ Aggressiveness With Peers.” The authors are Dale F. Hay, Lisa Mundy, Siwan Roberts, Raffaella Carta, Cerith S. Waters, Oliver Perra, Roland Jones, Ian Jones, Ian Goodyear, Gordon Harold, Anita Thapar, and Stephanie van Goozen.

Here are some interesting extracts

“Observational studies of early peer interaction have similarly shown that the use of physical aggression is fairly rare in young children, but that meaningful individual differences are already present by age 3. Infants’ early interactions with peers predict later behavioral problems
Prospective longitudinal studies have identified a number of maternal risk factors associated with high levels of aggression. These risk factors include social class, level of education, and early entry into parenthood; smoking during pregnancy; and stress, anxiety, or depression during pregnancy.

“The infants’ observed aggressiveness was significantly correlated with mothers’ mood disorder during pregnancy and with mothers’ history of conduct problems.

“Our study demonstrated that systematic individual differences in aggressiveness are present by infants’ first birthday. Key risk factors for adolescent violence found in an earlier longitudinal study predicted infants’ observed use of force against peers as well as parents’ reports of infants’ anger and aggression. The precise mechanisms underlying these effects have yet to be identified; parents convey risk through processes of genetic as well as social transmission, and the mother’s mental state in pregnancy”

The journal *Child Development* issued the following news release:

Depression In Pregnancy Tied To Antisocial Behavior In Offspring During Teens

Children from urban areas whose mothers suffer from depression during
pregnancy are more likely than others to show antisocial behavior,
including violent behavior, later in life.

Furthermore, women who are aggressive and disruptive in their own teen
years are more likely to become depressed in pregnancy, so that the
moms’ history predicts their own children’s antisocial behavior. (more…)

The Society for Research in Child Development issued the following news

Why are some young victims of domestic violence resilient?

More than 10 million U.S. children witness domestic violence yearly,
resulting in a range of emotional and behavioral problems.

A new study suggests that the reason some of these children are
resilient is because of their easy temperaments and because they have
mentally healthy moms.

The longitudinal study, conducted by researchers at Michigan State
University, is published in the March/April 2009 issue of the journal
Child Development.

The researchers looked at more than 100 American children who had
witnessed violent acts against their mothers when the children were 2,
3, and 4 years old. They also looked at more than 70 children who hadn’t
witnessed violence against their mothers.

Children exposed to violence were almost four times more likely than
others to develop emotional or behavioral problems.


Today’s issue of the *Arizona Republic* includes an article: “Spanking
can create defiant kids, report says.”

Here are some excerpts:

[begin excerpts]

Corporal punishment is not a good way to improve a child’s behavior and
might even make things worse.

The ineffectiveness of spanking or swatting may come as a surprise to
American parents, most of whom use physical punishment to teach their

The findings are part of a new report that examined more than 100 years
of research and published studies on the physical punishment of children.

“The Report on Physical Punishment in the United States,” released this
week, is endorsed by the American Medical Association and the American
Academy of Pediatrics.

The study focuses not on child abuse but on spanking and other similar
punishments used by parents.


The study is not an attempt to suggest that parents should be more lax
with their children.

“One of the last things we want to convey is that children should not be
disciplined,” said Dr. David Notrica of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.


Gershoff’s study was a meta-analysis, meaning she statistically combined
the results of many different studies.


She knows, however, that many parents spank or hit their children
because the parents were hit when they were kids and turned out fine.


“(Children) learn from all the things around the spanking,” Gershoff
said. “They get how serious you are. You have their attention.
Sometimes, there is a talk after the spanking that really sinks in.”

The trick, she said, is to get the child’s attention without the spanking.


Gershoff referred to three recent studies – in Pediatrics, Southern
Medical Journal and Psychology, Public Policy, and Law – which showed
that nearly two-thirds of parents with children 1 to 2 years old
reported using physical punishment and that 80 percent of children have
been physically punished by the time they reach fifth grade.

“Unfortunately, the fact that it is a violent act teaches the child
about violence,” said Dr. Roberta Hibbard, a member of the American
Academy of Pediatrics’ Child Abuse and Neglect committee.

“The underlying message is that violence is OK. It’s not OK.”


In Gershoff’s reports, she says that when children were spanked, 85
percent of the studies showed there to be “less moral internalization of
norms for appropriate behavior and long-term compliance.”

There is evidence that Americans’ approval of physical punishment is on
the decline.

“The Report on Physical Punishment in the United States” points to a
long-running survey by the General Social Survey, which is funded by the
National Science Foundation.

It found that, in the 1960s, 94 percent of adults favored physical punishment.

By 1986, 84 percent of U.S. adults agreed that children sometimes need a
“good hard spanking.”

In 2004, the percentage had dropped to 71.3 percent.

Gershoff knows it will not be easy to change how parents raise their
children. She knows most parents who spank are doing so because they
think it is best for the child.

“It’s easier to see in the research because we can see so many children
and over so much time,” Gershoff said.

“I’ve read hundreds and hundreds of studies. Overwhelmingly, they find
that spankings are associated with negative outcomes. There is no
research that says spanking is good for kids.”

[end excerpt]

The article is online at:

[courtesy of Ken Pope]

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill issued the following announcement:

UNC study: Parenting can override effect of genes in how babies respond
to stress

Everyone gets stressed, even babies.

Now, it appears how infants respond to stress is linked to if they have
a particular form of a certain gene, according to a new study from the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Just as significantly, researchers say they have also found that good
parenting – as early as within the first year of a child’s life – can
counter the effect the gene has in babies who initially do not respond
well to stressful situations.