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In the study, Temple's group interviewed 700 participants in southeast Texas in their late teens and early 20s.

About 19 percent said they had committed some form of dating violence and 69 percent said they were physically punished during childhood.

Even after controlling for sex, ethnicity, age, parental education, and child physical abuse, childhood corporal punishment was associated significantly with physical dating violence perpetration (a OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.02-1.62).

The finding that childhood corporal punishment was associated with perpetration of young adult physical dating violence, even after controlling for several demographic variables and childhood physical abuse, adds to the growing literature demonstrating deleterious outcomes associated with corporal punishment.

Behavior that is normal in one relationship may be abusive in a different relationship.

However, the following warning signs are generally indicative of abuse.

In addition, prior research has found associations between corporal punishment and problems such as childhood aggression and mental health disorders.

For example, one recent study of more than 8,300 California adults found that a history of being spanked in childhood was linked to a 37 percent raised risk of attempting suicide in adulthood, and 33 percent higher odds for adult drug abuse.

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A path model was used to determine whether childhood corporal punishment was related to recent perpetration of physical dating violence, while controlling for childhood physical abuse, age, sex, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

The study identified a significant association between corporal punishment during childhood and violence toward dating partners in adulthood.

Specifically, people who got spanked as kids had a 29 percent higher risk for perpetrating dating violence, the findings showed.

"The current study adds to this knowledge by showing that being physically punished as a child is linked to perpetrating dating violence as a teen and young adult." It's not that big a stretch to connect the two, he added.

"Common sense and scientific research both tell us that children learn from their parents," Temple explained.

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