Thursday, 4 February 2016 - 12:55
Anxious, depressed parents have more fearful children
Children with depressed or anxious parents are between two and six times more likely to be anxious or depressed than children with relaxed parents, according to a study done by psychologist Evin Aktar. He received a PhD from the University of Amsterdam on Wednesday, NU reports. Aktar observed children between the age of 1 and 2.5 years with and without their parents in different situations. the psychologist looked at how the kids reacted to new and unfamiliar situations, strange people and toys that they do not know. The study found that kids who are themselves anxious or cautious often exhibit avoidance behavior when their parents show anxiety. On the other hand, kids who are naturally open and inquisitive, react less to negative emotions from a parent. "It is obviously too early to determine which of these children will develop a similar disorder", Aktar said to the Volkskrant. "But you can on the basis of certain behavior, such as avoidance behavior, establish whether they have an increased chance of developing it later." He added that it is also unclear thus far whether children who are anxious by nature are this way because of an anxious parent, or whether they would have been this way no matter what. "Variations can be great in a family, biological siblings may have totally different characters. From timid and shy to open and inquisitive." What Aktar did notice is that mothers are more likely to affect their children's behavior. According to the psychologist, that is because women have more natural tendency to laugh excessively when they talk to their child. "Men's expressions differ less and also appear to have less influence on their child's behavior."