Welcome to another week.

A new study published by the University of Michigan has suggested that the negative effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are very similar to those experienced by children who were hit in childhood.

ACEs, which include physical and emotional abuse, neglect, exposure to the mental illness of a parent or carer, and domestic violence, can negatively impact children in childhood and beyond.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Pediatrics on 3 February, offers evidence that spanking and ACEs have statistically indistinguishable effects on early behavioural problems.

Researchers analysed the responses from 2,380 families in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a joint project by Princeton University’s Center for Research on Child Wellbeing and the Columbia Population Research Center, and found that ACEs and spanking at 3 years were unique risk factors for increased externalising problems when children reached 5 years of age.

Lead author of the study, Julie Ma, said, “This suggests that the detrimental effects of spanking and ACEs on children are likely to be similar,” in a press release for the study published on 11 February.

The press statement also offers several links relating to the study and the researchers who produced it, which we’re adding below:

Study abstract: Adverse Childhood Experiences and Spanking Have Similar Associations with Early Behavior Problems
Julie Ma
Shawna Lee
Andrew Grogan-Kaylor

Many thanks to Professor Joan Durrant for alerting us to this study.