We’ve been aware for long that anxiety runs through families, but new research indicates that anxiety conditions are passed on through the mother-daughter relationship, and that a father who isn’t suffering from anxiety helps prevent his sons from developing the condition.
Researchers investigated the impact of nature versus nurturing in the development of anxiety studying a sample of 400 Canadian children around the age of 10 who previously took part in a study focusing on families who are at risk of mood disorders.
When genetics play a bigger influence on anxiety disorders, they are likely to be seen in both genders of children at the same rate , regardless of whether the father or mother was the parent who passed down the anxiety disorder.
If children were developing anxiety disorders due to taking their inspiration and lessons from a homosex parent A distinctive pattern of transmitting between mother and daughter as well as father to son could be expected.
The latter is what researchers have found, at most to a degree.
As part of the research that was conducted, children with a parent who was a homosex suffering from anxiety disorders had a three-fold probability of developing the condition as peers. (To our knowledge this study did not include transgender kids or adults.)
An anxiety disorder in a mother (but not the father’s) increased the risk for their daughter for being diagnosed anxiety during the research.
Sons weren’t more likely to develop anxious disorders when their parents suffered from one, however if their father wasn’t suffering from any anxiety disorders, this reduced the risk of developing one.
In the end, having an opposite-sex parent who did not have an anxiety disorder did not protect similarly as having a similar-sex parent who was not suffering from the condition.
Also Read: How close are we to 3D printing organs for human transplants?
The study was not able to demonstrate the causality of an event because it was retrospective and observational.
If there was an causal link there would be a challenge to determine what direction it was operating in “given the feedback loop that is two-way” The researchers said in which case children might cause their parents to be anxious rather than their parents making them anxious.
If the causal link is established it is possible to stop the generational spread of the anxiety disorder through treating parents with anxiety, say the researchers.
Recent studies have proven that anxiety is an learned behavior that children learn by their teachers.
For instance an study in which parents were randomly asked to behave either calm or anxiously as children were preparing for a spelling test revealed that children mirrored this attitude and began to develop anxiety and avoidance behaviors.
Additionally, study have linked anxiety disorders of parents to the possibility of more anxiety disorders among their children.