Saturday February 16, 2019

Childhood Stress You Suffered May Affect Your Kids

The findings showed that a mother's childhood experiences had a much stronger adverse effect on a child's behavioural health than the father's experiences

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stress
Representational image. Pixabay

Experiencing childhood trauma resulting from separation of parents or witnessing violence at home may have long-term effects, suggests a new study that found that ill effects of such stress can reach the kids of the sufferer.

The results, published in the journal Pediatrics, showed that the children of parents who themselves had four or more adverse childhood experiences were at double the risk of having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and were four time more likely to have mental health problems.

“This is the first research to show that the long-term behavioural health harms of childhood adversity extend across generations from parent to child,” said study lead author Adam Schickedanz from University of California, Los Angeles, US.

For the study the team analysed information from a US national survey containing information from four generations of families.

stress
Representational image. Pixabay

The researchers looked at whether the parents were abused, neglected or exposed to other family stress or maltreatment while growing up and analysed information on their children’s behaviour problems and medical diagnoses of attention deficit disorder.

The types of childhood hardships analysed for the research included divorce or separation of parents, death of or estrangement from a parent, emotional, physical or sexual abuse, witnessing violence in the home, exposure to substance abuse in the household or parental mental illness.

Also Read: Is Your Bedroom Stressing You Out?

The findings showed that a mother’s childhood experiences had a much stronger adverse effect on a child’s behavioural health than the father’s experiences.

“If we can identify these children who are at a higher risk, we can connect them to services that might reduce their risk or prevent behavioural health problems,” Schickedanz explained. (IANS)

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Immersive VR Can Help Kids Overcome Autism Phobias

In a separate study, published in the Autism in Adulthood journal by the same team, the VR treatment was shown to be effective in autistic adults

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Virtual Reality
A hospital patient uses virtual reality treatment for pain in this undated photo. VOA

Exposing children and adults with autism to immersive virtual reality (VR) can help alleviate their fears and phobias, say researchers.

A team from the UK’s Newcastle University developed ‘Blue Room’, a virtual environment, which requires no goggles. Here a person can comfortably investigate and navigate through various scenarios working with a therapist using iPad controls but remain in full control of the situation.

“For many children and their families, anxiety can rule their lives as they try to avoid the situations which can trigger their child’s fears or phobias,” said Professor Jeremy Parr from Newcastle’s Institute of Neuroscience.

“To be able to offer a treatment that works, and see the children do so well, offers hope to families who have very few treatment options for anxiety available to them,” Parr added.

Autism can affect a child’s learning and development, often resulting in impaired social and communication skills and many also have fears or phobias which can be very distressing but are often overlooked.

Inventions
Toybox founder Arlene Mulder views a project that their tech innovation hub was involved in, a Virtual Reality exhibition at a Johannesburg art gallery. VOA

For the study, detailed in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, the team involved a small group of children with autism aged 8-14 years. Half received treatment in the ‘Blue Room’ straight away and half acted as a control group, receiving delayed treatment six months later.

“People with autism can find imagining a scene difficult which is why the ‘Blue Room’ is so well-received. We are providing the feared situation in a controlled way through VR and we are sitting alongside them to help them learn how to manage their fears,” explained Morag Maskey, researcher from Newcastle.

Also Read- AI Helping Differently-abled to Become More Independent: Microsoft

The results showed that overall 40 per cent of children treated showed improvement at two weeks, and 45 per cent at six months.

In a separate study, published in the Autism in Adulthood journal by the same team, the VR treatment was shown to be effective in autistic adults. (IANS)