Study Shows Spanking Lowers IQ

Study Shows Spanking Lowers IQResearchers have discovered a small, but significant connection between spanking as a form of discipline and lower IQ scores. The researchers developed a hypothesis that there was a correlation between children who were spanked or had hands slapped and lower IQ scores.

For the study they tested the cognitive ability of children at the start of the study and four years later. They separated the children into two groups based on age and controlled for variables like socioeconomic status, amount of cognitive stimulation and interaction with the child, mother’s education, etc.

The results of the study showed that children in both age groups who received little or no corporal punishment gained cognitive abilities faster. For children who did receive corporal punishment it was discovered that the more corporal punishment they received the more they fell behind. You can read the study here. (pdf file)

Interesting study. What do you think?  Do you know of any studies that show something similar or show something quite different?


  1. I forgot to mention. If you read the study you will see that it is not saying a child can’t have a high IQ if spanked. The study showed a link between spanking and slightly lower IQs. They took a measurement of IQs and four years later they took another measurement of IQs so it just measured the difference. So if a child had an IQ of 130 at the start of the study and was spanked it may be around 125 when tested later. Not a big difference, but they found a statistically significant link between slightly lower IQ scores with spanked children. You can be a genius and be spanked.

  2. Thanks for your comments! I welcome them.

    There are some who view the rod as mentioned in Proverbs as a rod of correction or guidance like a shepherd would use a rod to guide a sheep in the right direction. Personally, I don’t see those texts saying the rod is something to spank or hit with. We see in the New Testament instruction to not provoke a child to anger. It is difficult to discipline without provoking your child to anger if you are spanking or not. But I do think it would be more difficult to avoid provoking you child to anger if you used corporal punishment.

    There is a big difference between spanking in anger and spanking when not angry. However, I still believe there are more effective ways to bring about correction than spanking.

    • I personally believe it is understandable when we lose our temper and spank a child,not that it is ok but that it is an emotional reaction. To hit your child without emotion is just …. weird! I do NOT spank my children I speak with them always and I tell them that they need time to themselves or a time out and even I when brought to emotional outburst need a time out also! I teach my children by actual example. I remove myself from the situation expressing to the children that I need time to myself because I am frustrated. This is time we are not allowed to speak to others but to have time for ourselves and to reflect or rest(nap) or have a snack if hungry but this is alone time!

  3. I was waiting to see if any comments would come about….

    Using the “rod” (in love and correction, not anger) is a Biblical concept. We use the rod with our daughter (luckily not often!) and she is identified as gifted. Unfortunately, I didn’t read the study but if God has given us a means of discipline then I don’t think it’s wrong to use it…again, in love and correction not because you are angry your child didn’t listen to you – there’s a difference.
    Some verse references:
    Proverbs 22:15
    Proverbs 23:13-14

    This is just what I think…not to start a debate or anything.

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