The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Community

December 11, 2012

Jim Bailey: Do we add spanking to the list of possible cancer causes?

Forgive the analogy, but there has been a war on spanking going on for many years. And now it has found its way into the realm of medical research.

The latest foray is a British study of adults in Saudi Arabia (a country where corporal punishment, often severe, historically has been the norm) that strongly suggests a link between physical abuse, specifically including what we call spanking, and such maladies as cancer, heart disease and asthma. The study, published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, found those who had cancer were 70 percent more likely to have been beaten as a child, those with cardiac disease 30 percent more likely and those with asthma 60 percent more likely than among a similar group of healthy adults. It all supposedly has to do with stress.

It seems whatever one’s bias, a study can be cooked up to give credibility to that point of view. And it turns out there were other factors in play in the study: the healthy folks on average were younger and had more education, the latter also being true of their mothers. And the healthy group was taken from nurses and administrators, while we aren’t certain about the sick people’s backgrounds.

My, my. It makes the plethora of us who were spanked during our childhood wonder how we avoided debilitating illness. At age 73 I have yet to be diagnosed with any kind of malignancy, and my heart is in pretty good shape for a septuagenarian; I have had only a suggestion of any respiratory condition, probably owing more to my weight than to the amount of stress inflicted during my childhood by the board of education. Same for my wife and her siblings, whose discipline occasionally included something more than the palm of the hand (ever have to pick your own switch?).

And our kids? When we needed to get their attention, we occasionally resorted to a degree of physical contact. I confess mine was more threatening than real, with the result that the kids sometimes stifled laughter among their crying. Usually the threat was more than enough, though. Bonnie kept a paddle hanging in the kitchen, and when she grabbed it the kids immediately toed the line; I don’t think she ever actually used it.

Funny how something like corporal punishment that used to be considered the norm has found its way into the agenda of those fighting child abuse. Delaware, for instance, this year became the first state to pass a law effectively outlawing corporal discipline. It purports to be addressing child abuse, but it specifically redefines laws to include any act that causes “pain.” Seems to me that temporary pain is the object of spanking.

But the battle goes on. Recently when complaints were lodged about paddling at a Texas school, the school board actually expanded the school’s authority to use corporal punishment.

What next?

Jim Bailey’s column appears on Wednesday. He can be reached by email at jameshenrybailey@earthlink.net.

1
Text Only
Community
  • Community Briefs: Aug. 2 A compilation of community news items as published in the Saturday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    August 1, 2014

  • Davis, Verna mug Verna Davis: Peace is worth fighting for Some people say they know how to find peace. We should “simply” follow our hearts, search for meaning in our lives, and fulfill our dreams. Sad to say, those things may bring us a bit of satisfaction, but they certainly don’t bring us peace.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • FEA HB0801 Heart_328 Tickets going fast for Heart Anyone wanting to rock out to Heart Friday night who hasn’t reserved tickets may be out of luck. Only a handful of tickets are still available for the band’s concert at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Community Briefs: Aug. 1 A compilation of community news items as published in the Friday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 31, 2014

  • Live music: Aug. 1 Live entertainment at local venues as published in the Friday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 31, 2014

  • Jim Bailey: Gospel singer’s long road to recovery has begun Eighteen months ago, gospel singer and The Perrys manager Tracy Stuffle found himself wrecked by the side of the road, where he struggled to summon help on his cell phone. He had suffered a severe stroke while driving.

    July 30, 2014

  • Community Briefs: July 31 A compilation of community news items as published in the Thursday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 30, 2014

  • FEA HB0730 Gordon Brooks Berky strives to unite community through the arts His theater was originally going to be a place where he could perform when he’s not on tour, but then actor and mask maker Doug Berky had a bigger idea: Unite the community through entertainment.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Community Briefs: July 30 A compilation of community news as published in the Wednesday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 29, 2014

  • FEA - HB0729 - Senior Falls Aging safely in the comfort of her home Marilyn Moneyhun said being totally reliant on others is difficult. "Losing your independence is a shock to your system," Moneyhun, 84, said. "You are not in control anymore."

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Reader Pet Photos


We're looking for your best pet photos! Share your photos of your favorite non-human companions in our new photo gallery. Click here to upload your photos

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin