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Early affection helps children to better cope with adult stress

Receiving lots of affection as a young child could help us to better cope with the stresses and strains of adult life, says a recent study.

These findings come from a study of almost 500 people, from the US state of Rhode Island, who were studied as children and then again as adults.

The study began with eight month old children and their mothers receiving a psychologist rating based on the quality of their interactions during a routine developmental check up.

The psychologist judged how well the mother responded to her child’s emotions and needs before giving an ”affection score” which was based on the warmth of their interaction.

Thirty years down the line the researchers revisited the child participants who were now adults, and asked them to take part in a survey about their well-being and emotions.

The survey involved questions about whether they believed their mothers had been affectionate towards them and they could respond with answers ranging from ”strongly agree” to ”strongly disagree”.

After analysing the results the researchers found that the children who received the most affection were the ones who dealt with anxiety the most effectively compared to those of emotionally cold mothers.

The researchers believe the study contributes to a growing body of research which suggests that the early childhood years are what sets the stage for later experiences in life, though other influencing factors such as personality and upbringing could not be ruled out.

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Written by Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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