Washington Moms: How Your Stress Could Affect Your Infants

Posted on Feb 26, 2014

Will your infant who is too young to speak be affected by the stress of your unhappy marriage or pending divorce? A new study published in Psychological Science, found that infants age 12–14 months may be very responsive to their mothers’ stress.

More About the Study and Its Findings

The study did not look specifically at the relationships, or divorces, of Washington moms. Instead, the study used a controlled environment to measure infant responses to maternal stress. A team from New York University recruited 69 moms and their 12–14 month old babies. The moms were divided into three groups and were each asked to deliver a five minute speech to a panel of two evaluators and to answer the evaluators’ questions after. All of the moms and babies had cardiovascular sensors attached to them. One-third of the moms received positive feedback during their time before their panel, one-third of the moms received negative feedback, and one-third of the moms received no feedback.

The researchers found that mothers who received negative feedback exhibited physical signs of stress. When they were with their babies, the babies seemingly picked up on that stress and also exhibited similar signs of stress.

What This Means

It is hard to say what affect this study has on Washington moms. For now, it is important that all Washington parents understand that their stress may impact even their youngest children.

Do you know someone in a stressful relationship who is wondering about the impact on her baby? Please share this article with that person so that she can know the results of this study.

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Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney
Molly B. Kenny's Bellevue family law office is conveniently located on Lake Bellevue Drive, making it easily accessible to those in the greater Seattle area. Our divorce and child custody lawyers help men and women get the information, guidance, and compassionate representation they need.
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