Childhood Stress and its Lasting Effects

It has been determined that stress can have a negative impact on a person’s health. Stress is the leading cause for around 60% of all illnesses and diseases that humans develop. This information was provided by the American Institute of Stress.

04It has yet to be determine if stress early in life has an impact on health in adulthood.To get a better understand of this Ashley Winning who is the lead author at the Department of Social and Behavioral Science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public health located in Boston, MA studies nearly 7,000 people who took part in a 1958 study British Birth Cohort.

All of the participants in this study were followed for a period of 45 years. Information was collected from the participants at the ages of 7, 11, 16, 23, and 42 years old. At the age of 45 the participants had their blood pressure checked and blood samples were taken. The researchers were able to task a look at the cardio metabolic risk scores which determines how much of a risk a person is at for developing diabetes or heart disease. The findings high light the impact of childhood stress on adults.

The study showed that those who had low levels of stress during childhood and adulthood had lower stress levels than those that had high stress. Participants with high stress during childhood and adulthood has higher cardio metabolic risk scores. The study team found that those that had high stress starting in childhood and middle adulthood were at higher risk than children who suffer from obesity. Those that had higher stress levels during childhood and high stress levels as adults were also found to have higher cardio metabolic risk scores.

Researchers looked at other factors that can put a person at risk. They looked at socioeconomic status, medication use, healthy behaviors, and found that these factors did affect cardio metabolic scores. Those with high stress were at no greater of a risk then those with low stress in childhood and adulthood. Looking at the results the research team found those that were stressed often as children had higher cardio metabolic risk scores then children with low stress starting in childhood and continuing to adulthood. These findings support the theory that childhood stress can put a person at an increased risk for developing diabetes and heart disease as adults.

It was also noted while stress as children put a person at a higher cardio metabolic risk as adults the risk does not go down over time. Those that had less stress as adults but high stress levels from childhood still had a high risk score. Childhood stress can have a lasting impact on health as an adult. This is why it is so important for children to have a stable environment when growing up. Childhood stress is often a result of the environment that the child grows up in. It is important to focus on the child and their social circumstances to reduce harmful effects of stress that can last the rest of their lives.


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