Tue, Feb 21, 2017 | updated 10:46 AM IST

Warm rapport with parents may promote kid's health

Updated: Oct 06, 2016 13:40 IST

WashingtonD.C [USA], Oct. 6 (ANI); Growing up in a well-off home can benefit a child's physical health even decades later but lack of parent-child warmth or the presence of abuse may eliminate the health advantage of a privileged background, suggests a study conducted at Baylor University.

Researcher Matthew A. Andersson said, "Previous research has associated high socioeconomic status with better childhood nutrition, sleep, neighborhood quality and opportunities for exercise and development of social skills. But good parent-child bonds may be necessary to enforce eating, sleep and activity routines."

For instance, if the parent-child relationship is strained or abusive, meals may be less coordinated among the family and children may be more likely to eat sugary or high-fat foods as snacks even in place of meals.

Sleep and activity routines also may become irregular, keeping the children away from developing healthy lifestyles and social and emotional skills useful for successful aging.

On the other hand, good parent-child bonds in economically disadvantaged homes do not seem to lessen the negative impact of low socioeconomic status as the children grow up.

Previous research has shown parents with less education and fewer financial advantages are more apt to threaten or force obedience rather than have constructive dialogue, and that may lessen warm relationships.

In addition, disease rates or inflammation among those children when they become adults have been linked strongly to abuse, mistreatment or lower levels of parental warmth.

For the study, health at midlife was defined as being free from 28 possible conditions, among them cancer, circulatory or respiratory disease, endocrine diseases, nervous system diseases, infectious and parasitic diseases, skin or digestive disease and musculoskeletal conditions.

"Much research continues to view socioeconomic status and parent-child bonds as highly related or even interchangeable.

But in fact they may quite independently influence a child's well-being," Andersson said.

Adding, "The key takeaway is that without adequate parent-child relationship quality to match, socioeconomic advantage during childhood may not offer much protection at all against major chronic disease as children become adults and reach middle age."

For the study, Andersson analyzed data on disease or poor health of middle-aged adults. He surveyed 2,746 respondents ages 25 to 75 in 1995 about their childhood treatment by parents.

He conducted surveys again about 10 years later with 1,692 of the individuals taking part.

The follow-up analysis, adjusted for personal background in 1995 and for probability of dropping out of the MIDUS study, revealed that childhood abuse continued to undermine any protection from disease linked to childhood socioeconomic advantage.

The study on Midlife Health and Parent-Child Relationships is published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.(ANI)

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