Our reply will first deal with the specific comments in each of the 3 letters separately and then conclude with comments on more general issues.
We are indebted to Larzelere et al for alerting us to the likelihood that our no-spanking group includes occasional spankers. To the extent that this is the case, the decrease in antisocial behavior that we found for children in the "none" group may indicate an improvement in the behavior of children whose parents spank, but do so only infrequently. Although that is a plausible interpretation, data from another study enable us to investigate this issue by classifying spanking as "never" or "not in the past 6 months," or the frequency of corporal punishment (CP) in the previous 6 months.1 We found that antisocial behavior was lowest among the never-spanked children, higher for those who had previously been spanked but not in the previous 6 months, and increased with frequency of CP in the previous 6 months.
Straus MA, Sugarman DB, Giles-Sims J. In Reply. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998;152(3):306-309. doi: