The later toll of a lack of parental warmth

A lack of parental warmth can have a long-lasting impact on children - from both an emotional and physical perspective. This is according to new research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which found the effects of childhood abuse and not enough affection from parents can last for the duration of a person's life.

Led by Judith Carroll, a Research Scientist at the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the University of California, Los Angeles Health Sciences, the investigation included 756 adults, who had taken part in a study called Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults.

It was shown that significant links were evident between reports of childhood abuse and muti-system health risks. However, people who reported more parental warmth and affection in their younger years had lower risk of such problems. 

Ms Carroll stated: "If the child has love from parental figures, they may be more protected from the impact of abuse on adult biological risk for health problems."

Dr Carol Valinejad, a Chartererd Psychologist, comments:

"This study confirms yet again the contribution that neglectful parenting can make to children becoming vulnerable to developing mental and physical ill heath in adult life. In contrast, authoritative parenting characterised by warm but firm expectations of children helps children develop resilience against such psychological and physical outcomes in later life.

"The point that this research highlights is well documented and what is needed now is research to help us understand what are the barriers to parents providing emotional warmth to their children in order that outcomes for children in this respect can be improved."

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