A Small German Study Has Linked An Expectant Mom's Experience With Domestic Violence To Her Baby's Future Mental Wellbeing.
A small German study has linked an expectant mom's experience with domestic violence to her baby's future mental wellbeing.
A small German study has linked an expectant mom's experience with domestic violence to her baby's future mental wellbeing. The study focused specifically on women who were domestic abuse victims - the study author noted that they did not look at "everyday" stresses such a work or family.
According to a new study from Germany’s University of Konstanz, mothers who experience undue stress during pregnancy can pass on emotional damage to their unborn children, leaving an imprint that has detrimental effects on their ability to cope with stress later in life.Study
- 25 moms were asked "whether or not they had experienced extreme stress from an abusive relationship with a spouse or boyfriend during pregnancy"
- Their "emotional level" was rated by the researcher
- A particular gene of the children was monitored (the children were nine to 19 years old)
- The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) - the gene associated with the brain's response to stress - "was significantly less active among children born to mothers who suffered from domestic abuse during pregnancy."
- The GR gene was not affected in children who were born to women abused after pregnancy
The genetic difference among offspring born to mothers who were abused while pregnant appears to make the children more sensitized to stress, causing a much faster reaction to it both mentally and hormonally. As individuals, these children have a tendency to be more impulsive, and are more likely to struggle with their emotions.Limitations of study
- Researchers depended on the moms' abilities to correctly recall experiences from 10 or more years ago
- The study only showed a link between a mom's experience with domestic violence and her baby's future stress reactions due to a change in genes - not an actual cause-effect relationship