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Young children who are frequently spanked are more likely to grow up to be aggressive, suggests a new study.

Researchers from Tulane University in New Orleans found that three-year-olds who were frequently spanked had an increased risk of being aggressive at the age of five. Signs of aggression included arguing or screaming, cruelty, bullying, destroying things and fighting.

The study, 'Mothers Spanking of Three-Year-Old Children and Subsequent Risk of Children's Aggressive Behavior', in the May issue of the journal Pediatrics, questioned over 2,000 American mothers on how often they spanked their child in the past month, as well as asking about the child's level of aggression and maternal parenting risk factors.

Co-author Catherine Taylor said, 'There are ways to discipline children effectively that do not involve hitting them and that can actually lower their risk for being more aggressive. If parents avoid spanking but instead use effective, non-physical types of discipline, their child has a better chance of being healthier and behaving better later.'

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