All Posts in “stress”

What’s the Effect of Early Childhood Stress?

Children in Finland who were temporarily separated from their parents during World War II were more likely to have elevated blood pressure than Finnish children who were not separated from their parents.  

  • Children who were separated had significantly higher systolic blood pressure than those who were not separated.
  • Those children who were separated at an earlier age had higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure from the non-separated children.  
  • Even children who were separated from parents for less than a year had higher systolic blood pressure than the control group.

Abstract: Early life stress and blood pressure levels in late adulthood, Journal of Human Hypertension

Acute Stressors in Early Development

Is an acute stressor in childhood, such as the sudden death of a parent, associated with a higher incidence of mental illness in adulthood? More specifically, if a father or sibling were to die a quick and unanticipated death before a child is 5-years-old, is that child more likely to have a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder as an adult? A study in Finland suggests that the answer is yes.  Children before the age of 5 who suddenly lost their father or sibling (such as in an accident or to suicide) were more likely to develop schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.  These children were in contrast to children who lost their father or sibling during the same age range but to a non-sudden cause (e.g. illness).  This finding is consistent with other research that suggests that  exposure to a sudden stressor in early development  increases the likelihood of a psychotic disorder later in life. Abstract: Sudden death of father or sibling in early childhood increases risk for psychotic disorder, Schizophrenia Research

Stressed Out and Tired: Moms with Children with Developmental Disabilities

Researchers examined numerous studies of the sleep and stress of mothers with children who have developmental disabilities.  These studies consistently showed that these mothers had higher levels of depressive symptoms, more stress, and poorer sleep. Further, the high levels of stress were not just occasional episodes.  Rather, these mothers experienced higher levels of stress consistently over time.  Also, there was a high correlation between a mother’s stress and behavior problems for the child with the disability.  The research suggests that these mothers (and their children) may benefit from attention focused on reducing their symptoms of stress and depression as well as ways to improve sleep.

Abstract: Maternal stress, well-being, and impaired sleep in mothers of children with developmental disabilities: A literature review, Research in Developmental Disabilities

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