File photo: Nearly 55 percent reported being spanked.

London - Children getting spanked may feel depressed, attempt suicide, drink at moderate-to-heavy levels or use illegal drugs when they grow up, a study by the University of Michigan shows.

The study used data from the CDC-Kaiser ACE study, which sampled more than 8 300 people aged from 19 to 97. Study participants completed self-reports while seeking routine health checks at an outpatient clinic. 

They were asked about how often they were spanked in their first 18 years, their household background and if an adult inflicted physical abuse (a push, grab, slap or shove), or emotional abuse (an insult or curse).

Nearly 55 percent reported being spanked. Those reporting exposure to spanking had increased odds of depression and other mental health problems, the study showed.

Researchers note that as both spanking and physical abuse involve force and pain, it is important to prevent not just child maltreatment, but also harsh parenting before it occurs.