ANI, The Statesman, October 22, 2022
As a result of strict parenting, the way the body perceives the children’s DNA might alter. Children who grow up with restrictions may have these modifications “hard-wired” into their DNA, increasing their biological risk of depression in adolescence and later in life.
Presenting the work at the ECNP Congress in Vienna, Dr Evelien Van Assche said: “We discovered that perceived harsh parenting, with physical punishment and psychological manipulation, can introduce an additional set of instructions on how a gene is read to become hard-wired into DNA. We have some indications that these changes themselves can predispose the growing child to depression. This does not happen to the same extent if the children have had a supportive upbringing”. The researchers from the University of Leuven in Belgium chose 21 teenagers who said their parents were good parents (for example, they were supportive and gave their kids freedom), and then compared them to 23 teenagers who said their parents were tough parents (for example, manipulative behaviour, physical punishment, excessive strictness). All of the adolescents ranged in age from 12 to 16, with a mean age of 14 for both groups. 11 adolescents in each group were boys, indicating that the two groups were comparable in terms of age and the distribution of boys to girls. Many people who had strict parenting displayed early, subclinical indicators of depression.