Strict or harsh upbringing could increase a child’s risk of depression later in life, study suggests UK News
A strict upbringing could increase a child’s risk of developing depression later in life, according to a new study.
Scientists say that manipulating or being harsh on a child can actually change the way their body reads their DNA.
Such changes can become “hardwired” into the DNA of a child who sees their parents as tough, increasing their risk of depression.
Researchers from the University of Leuven in Belgium selected 21 children who found their parents to be supportive.
They compared these children to 23 whose parents described manipulative behavior, physical punishment, or being overly strict.
The children were between 12 and 16 years old.
The study found that many of those who experienced tough upbringing showed initial, subclinical signs of depression.
They also had significantly elevated levels of methylation – a normal process that occurs when a small chemical molecule is added to DNA, changing the way instructions written in DNA are read by the body.
Presenting the work at the congress of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology in Vienna, Dr. Evelien Van Assche: “In this study we examined the role of strict parenting, but it is likely that any significant stress will lead to such changes in DNA methylation. In general, stress in childhood can lead to a general tendency towards depression in the child.” later lives by changing the way your DNA is read.
The study was not peer-reviewed and the results need to be confirmed in a larger sample.
dr Van Assche said: “We based our approach on previous research with identical twins.
“Two independent groups found that the twin diagnosed with major depression also had a higher range of DNA methylation than the healthy twin for the majority of these hundreds of thousands of data points.
“DNA stays the same, but these extra chemical groups affect how the instructions are read from the DNA.
“Those who reported stricter upbringing showed a tendency towards depression, and we believe this tendency was etched into their DNA through increased variation in methylation.
“We’re now exploring whether we can close the loop by linking it to a later diagnosis of depression, and perhaps use this increased methylation variation as a marker to warn in advance who may be at higher risk of developing depression because of their depression.” develop education.”