Harsh Punishment, Maltreatment in Childhood Associated With Adult Antisocial Behavior

Bottom Line: Harsh physical punishment (pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping and hitting), maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, emotional neglect, physical neglect and exposure to intimate partner violence) and a combination of the two during childhood were all associated with antisocial behaviors in adulthood among men and women. This observational study used data on about 36,000 adults in the general U.S. population. Authors suggest prevention efforts to eliminate harsh physical punishment and maltreatment in childhood should be a public health priority in an effort to reduce antisocial behavior among adults.

Authors:  Tracie O. Afifi, Ph.D., University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, and coauthors