Skip to main content

Strong Parent-Child Bond Can Reduce Effects of Long-Term Childhood Stress

A new brain imaging study suggests that a strong parental bond can override some of the negative effects of a stressful childhood — such as living in poverty or experiencing violence — by changing how kids perceive the environmental cues that help them distinguish between what’s safe or dangerous.

To investigate the impact of the caregiver relationship, a research team from Emory School of Medicine in Georgia used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to observe activity in the amygdala, a key area of the brain that processes fear and emotion.

For the study, children ages 8 to 13 were shown a series of photos of adult faces that were either emotionally neutral or expressing fear.

The findings show that the amygdalae of children with a history of violence in their lives grew more active in response to both types of faces, which suggests that these children may engage in emotional fight-or-flight responses even for social cues that are not particularly threatening. This may be an adaptive response to growing up in an unpredictable or dangerous environment.

In children who hadn’t experienced violence, amygdalae were more active only in response to the fearful faces.

In another part of the experiment, the children and their mothers were asked to work together on a challenging Etch-a-Sketch task, while the researchers rated the mothers’ expressions during the interaction. Then they had the children look at photos of faces.

Among younger kids (ages 8 to 10) whose mothers had been more encouraging during the experiment, the amygdalae showed a decrease over time in response to the fearful faces. This suggests that in young children, the relationship with a mother affects the brain’s response to potential environmental threats. The same effect wasn’t found in older children.

The findings build on earlier research by the same research team, which established that the physical distance between young children and their mothers can influence how the children assess danger.

In that study, younger children who were physically closer to their mothers were better able to differentiate between safe and threatening stimuli. Once again, this effect wasn’t found in older children.

The findings indicate that even if a child grows up in a stressful environment, parental relationships can protect them, says study co-leader Jennifer Stevens who conducted the study with Tanja Jovanovic.

“Interventions such as parent training designed to help parents respond positively to young children, might be especially important in situations that are really challenging or where there are low resources,” she says.

Source: American College of Neuropsychopharmacology



from Psych Central News https://ift.tt/2Eupu5d
via IFTTT

Become a patron of The Carlisle Wellness Network. Show everyone that you think this service is worth at least a buck. Go to; https://www.patreon.com/carlislewellness and pledge one dollar per month and help improve the resources it takes to gather the articles you see here as well as create fresh content including interviews an podcasts. We only need one dollar per month from all of our patrons to give The Carlisle Wellness Network a bright furture in the health and wellness social media ecosystem.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Working Remotely Is Not Necessarily Stress-Free

Many believe that working from home or remotely can foster freedom and stress-free job satisfaction, and that everyone wants  more work autonomy. A new study from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, says “Not so fast.” In the study, researchers examined the impact of remote work on employee well-being. Their findings suggest that a variety of factors can undermine or accent the employee benefits of working off-site. Accordingly, researchers developed new strategies to help managers provide remote-work opportunities that are valuable to the employee and the company. “Any organization, regardless of the extent to which people work remotely, needs to consider well-being of their employees as they implement more flexible working practices,” the researchers wrote. The study appears in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology . In the review, a total of 403 working adults were surveyed for the two studies that made up the research, said lead author Sara Perry, Ph.D. Re

Today’s Popular Music is More Angry, Sad and Less Joyful

Today’s popular music is noticeably different from the popular songs of the 1960s and 1970s. Now a new study reveals that it’s not just the music itself that is different; today’s music consumers seem to prefer songs that express darker emotions in both lyric and tone. The findings, published in the Journal of Popular Music Studies , show that the expression of anger and sadness in popular music has increased gradually over time, while the expression of joy has declined. Using quantitative analytics, researchers from Lawrence Technological University in Michigan studied changes in popular music lyrics throughout the last seven decades, from the 1950s to 2016. Data scientists Kathleen Napier and Dr. Lior Shamir analyzed the lyrics of more than 6,000 songs found on the Billboard Hot 100, a list of the most popular songs of each year. In the past, songs were ranked primarily by record sales, radio broadcasting, and jukebox plays, but in more recent years, popularity is based on several

I Pretend that Fictional Characters Are Real & Talk to Myself as Them

I’ve always loved to play pretend. But now that I’m a teenager, instead of outgrowing it, it’s gotten worse. Now I’ve gotten to the point where it’s an obsession, and I spend more time with my imaginary friends then with real people. I pretend that my favorite characters from movies and TV shows are real, and I talk to myself, both as myself and the character. I have long discussions with myself. I also pretend that they are with me everywhere I go–to the supermarket, to my cousin’s house. I pretend that they’re with me, no matter what I do. Lately, I’ve also been doing something that’s hard to explain: I pretend to be two people (usually myself and my mother, or a cousin, or a made-up person) and have a pretend to have a conversation with them. I pretend that the fiction character is watching me and my mother/cousin/other. Usually, those scenarios involve either a verbal fight, or joking. I’m really concerned because I know this is abnormal and I’m not living a normal life. I’m worri