Stressed moms more likely to have bullied kids, study shows

15 Nov

Although pregnancy isn’t one of the most relaxing times of a woman’s life, a new study shows that women should try to be as cool, calm and collected as possible while pregnant.

A study conducted by theUniversity of Warwick in the United Kingdom found that moms who were overly stressed or suffered from other mental problems during pregnancy had a higher chance their kids getting picked on by the school bully.

The more than a decade-long study, nicknamed “Children of the 90s,” enrolled more than 14,000 women between 1991 and 1992 to be studied, and their children’s development was closely followed.

Professor Dieter Wolke, Professor of Developmental Psychology at University of Warwick and Warwick Medical School and a leader in the study explained the connection between a mother’s stress and bullying.

“This is the first study to investigate stress in pregnancy and a child’s vulnerability to being bullied. When we are exposed to stress, large quantities of neurohormones are released into the blood stream and in a pregnant woman this can change the developing foetus’ own stress response system,” Wolke said in a press release. “Changes in the stress response system can affect behaviour and how children react emotionally to stress such as being picked on by a bully. Children who more easily show a stress reaction such as crying, running away, anxiety are then selected by bullies to home in to.”

The women enrolled in the study exhibited varying factors of stress such as money problems, family problems, substance abuse and bad health.

Wolke said that pregnant mom’s being too stressed can be a downward spiral and create problems for everyone involved.

“The whole thing becomes a vicious cycle, a child with an altered stress response system is more likely to be bullied, which affects their stress response even further and increases the likelihood of them developing mental health problems in later life.”

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