How important is parental affection for children’s happiness?
In 2010, researchers at Duke University Medical School found that babies with very loving and caring mothers grow happier, more resilient, and are at a lower risk of developing anxiety.
The study involved about 500 people who were analyzed from childhood to the age of 30. When the children were 8 months old, psychologists noticed the mothers’ interactions with them. They assessed mothers’ level of affection and attention on a five-point scale, from negative to extravagant. Almost 10% of mothers had a low level of the disease, 85% showed a normal condition, and about 6% showed a high level of the condition. Then, after 30 years, the same people were interviewed about their emotional health. Adults whose mothers showed excessive affection had a lower risk of feeling stressed or anxious. They were also less likely to report hostility, social interactions, and psychosomatic symptoms.
The researchers involved in this study concluded that oxytocin may be responsible for this effect.
Then, a study conducted in 2013 found that unconditional love and affection from parents can make children happier emotionally. This is because their brains change as a result of the condition.
On the other hand, the negative impact of child abuse and lack of affection affects children mentally and physically. And this leads to all sorts of health and emotional issues throughout life. What is really fascinating is that scientists believe that parental affection can actually protect people from the harmful effects of childhood stress.
Then, in 2015, a study by the University of Notre Dame showed that those children who receive affection from their parents are happier than adults. More than 600 adults were interviewed about how they were raised, including how much physical condition they received. Adults who reported receiving more illness in childhood were less likely to experience depression and anxiety.
Those who received less illness had to deal with mental health issues and said they were more upset in their social situation and less able to look at things from the perspective of others.