Studies abound establishing the strong link between childhood traumas as a persistent risk factor for causing various health problems in adulthood. However, research assessing the association between the parents’ troubled childhood histories with that of behavioral health problems witnessed in their children are rare. In a recent assessment study conducted by researchers at University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences (UCLA) and the University of Michigan, they found children whose parents had witnessed acute physical, emotional, and mental trauma in their childhood suffered elevated risks of behavioral problems such as attention deficit disorder. To put it simply, children were more prone to behavioral health problems if their parents had a turbulent childhood. The study could pave way, according to investigators, for better and timely services in managing the risk of mental health and attitude problems in children.
The findings were published recently in the Journal of Pediatrics.
Study Drilled into Information on Behavioral Health Problems from Nationwide Survey across Four Generation
The study was a part of standardized assessment of parents’ childhood adversity factors on their child’s health during pediatric visits. The researchers used information from a nationwide survey in the U.S. populations spanning four family generations to identify the parents who had undergone various stress factors in their own childhood. The factors include exposure to emotional and sexual abuse, childhood hardships from death of their parents and near relatives, or exposure to prolonged substance abuse. The survey data were collected by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.
Mothers’ Childhood Behavioral Problems inflicted Higher Risk to their Children
The study found that children whose parents themselves had troubled childhood were at double the risk of getting diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or mental health problems. Unsurprisingly, mother’s childhood experiences mattered more than the father’s.
More research are required to comprehensively evaluate the impact of adverse childhood experiences of parents on their children behavior, rather than just the health risk. The researchers considered family economic condition and education level as control factors in the study.