Childhood Trauma You Suffered May Affect Your Kids, Reveals Study

Desiree Burns
July 11, 2018

Trauma in childhood echoes through generations, according to new research that could have implications for thousands of migrant children recently separated from parents at the US border.

A new study done by the University of California claims that parents who faced severe trauma or went through extremely stressful periods as children are more likely to have children who grow up to have behavioral problems.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles and published today in Pediatrics, finds that traumatic events in childhood increase the risk of mental health and behavioral problems not just for that person but also for their children. He is a pediatrician and health services researcher and assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

The findings support the already existing evidences of various standardized assessments of parents about their childhood experiences during the pediatric examinations of their children.

The researchers used information from a national survey containing information from four generations of American families, including information from parents about whether they were abused, neglected or exposed to other family stressors or maltreatment while growing up, and information on their children's behavior problems and medical diagnoses of attention deficit disorder.

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The study also claimed that children of parents who went through a hard childhood themselves were at a double risk of having or developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and quadrupled risk of having or developing a mental health disorder.

The study showed that the children of parents who themselves had four or more adverse childhood experiences were at double the risk of having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and were four time more likely to have mental health problems. The study also found that these problems can also affect their children.

In the study, thousand so children as well as their parents, who were all a part of the Child Development Supplement (CDS) and Childhood Retrospective Circumstances Study (CRCS) of the year 2014 and were analysed. The next step for the researchers is to uncover if the grandparents of the parents that suffered adverse childhood events are also linked to their grandchildren's behavioral health.

This is the first study showing a correlation between adverse events in childhood and outcomes for the children of those who suffered the original trauma, and the researchers don't want to stop there.

"Right now, we are exploring whether these intergenerational [adverse event] associations persist across more than one generation". A mother who had a traumatic childhood had a higher detrimental effect on their child's behavior than the father who may have had similar experiences. These factors, however, only explained about 25 percent of the link to elevated behavioral health risks among the kids.

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