Anatomy of Three Things (Episode 97)


Three ThingsDoctors Brian and Giuseppe talk about recent research in psychology, including:

  1. What happens to kids who witness bullying?
  2. The effect of having kids on life satisfaction
  3. The language used by couples says something about their relationship.

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Note: Posts on Family Anatomy are for education only, and are not intended to replace professional or medical advice. If you need to talk to someone about family or mental health issues, you can get a referral from your family doctor.


Can dads get it right? has posted a series of well-produced, entertaining videos in partnership with Juice Box Jungle. I found the headline, “Daddy Doesn’t Do It Right” and had to check it out. The brief video interviews mothers and fathers about their participation in childcare, and includes some not-so-surprising information:

In this video:

  • Over 25% of dads polled say they’re scared of their wives.
  • Somehow, the woman always ends up being the childcare expert in the relationship, even if she works.
  • “He gets it OK — the kid’s gonna live, but it’s just not right.” If it’s not a serious safety issue, stop criticizing and let him to do it his way.
  • Learn two more easy techniques that’ll help you stop nagging and let it go, so you can have more “me time.”

Does spanking REALLY lower IQ?

Image by (Spanking and IQ)If you’re reading this blog, chances are that spanking isn’t your first choice when it comes to discipline. Last week, Time magazine ran a report citing Murray Straus’ research evidence that kids who are spanked have lower IQs than those who are not. Straus said that, the more kids are spanked, the greater the difference between their IQs and those of their peers – a difference that was found across several countries around the world. The finding is alarming, but the numbers tempered my reaction. Among older kids, the average difference in intelligence was a little under 3 IQ points. As a psychologist who has administered hundreds of IQ tests, I can tell you that this finding is small enough to be considered measurement error. Nonetheless, the U.N. has come out against corporal punishment (or inflicting pain to change behaviour), citing its negative impact on kids. What does the research say?

Part of the reason for the recent interest in Straus’ results is a study by Straus and Mallie Paschall published in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma. Over 800 children were assessed at the beginning of the study and again 4 years later, and the researchers controlled for 10 factors that might contribute to differences in the development of cognitive skills. Straus did not measure the children’s IQ; in fact, he used three tests (Body Parts Recognition, Memory for Locations, and Motor and Social Development) and combined the results to generate an overall score.

Specific Risk Factors Useful in Predicting Psychosis in Teens

Schizophrenia is an experience that typically appears in the late teenage years. It is a most difficult journey for kids and their parents. As is often the case, early detection can make a significant difference in the course of this experience. Research published in a 2008 edition of the Archives of General Psychiatry indicates that specific factors can help to identify the risk for psychosis in its earliest stages.

The specific risk factors are:

1. Deterioration in Social Functioning (e.g., spending more and more time alone in isolation from others)

2. Family History of Psychosis

3. Deterioration in Day to Day Functioning (e.g., drop in school grades, withdrawing from extracurricular activities)

4. Unusual, Suspicious or Paranoid Thinking (e.g., increase in beliefs that strangers are talking about you; suspicion that you’re being followed)

5. Past or Current Drug Abuse

You can read the study here.

What has your experience been with regard to schizophrenia? Let us know what you think – leave a comment!

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Note: Posts on Family Anatomy are for information only. If you need to talk to someone about family or mental health issues, you can get a referral from your family doctor.