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CMAJ - March 21, 2000JAMC - le 21 mars 2000

Heat and light in the childhood spanking debate

CMAJ 2000;162:757

See responses from: H.L. MacMillan et al; M.A. Straus
Harriet MacMillan and colleagues acknowledge that a limitation of their study [full article]1 is inaccurate recall of events before age 5 and they concede that the spankings received by the respondents in their study may have been a response to their behavioural problems rather than the cause. What is not mentioned is that individuals with the disorders considered in this study are possibly more likely to have a negative bias regarding their early recollections. The "linear association" implied in the interpretation is more an expression of current fashion than of objective analysis.

Philip Whatley
Family physician
Emo, Ont.

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  1. MacMillan HL, Boyle MH, Wong MYY, Duku EK, Fleming JE, Walsh CA. Slapping and spanking in childhood and its association with lifetime prevalence of psychiatric disorders in a general population sample. CMAJ 1999;161(7):805-9.

© 2000 Canadian Medical Association or its licensors