New research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that babies who are cuddled more grow into adults that face less anxiety and mental anguish. Cuddling babies now means they can be happier adults later.
Researchers from Duke University in Durham, N.C., studied 482 eight-month-old infants. Factors such as how warm and affectionate their mothers were to them were studied. Each were rated on a five-point scale based on their interactions, with the majority rating in the middle as warm. Few ranked low for being “occasionally negative”, and only 1.5 percent had the highest rating at “extravagant”.
Now those babies are 34 years old, and researchers brought them back to see if that affections had any difference on how well they grew into adults. Surprisingly, the ones who were rated the highest as infants scored the lowest amount of distress as adults. Those who had more affection felt less anxious as adults, while those were were shown less affection suffered more anxiety.
“From the policy perspective, it definitely adds to that body of research that we should be able to protect time for mothers and fathers to be affectionate to kids,” said Joanna Maselko, the lead author of the study and social epidemiologist with the Duke Medical School’s psychiatry department.
Dr. Maselko says that taking time to cuddle and show affection to children is very important towards helping them grow into functioning adults. For that to happen at it’s optimum, parental leaves and high-quality child care are critical. Though the original research only looked at moms, dads can be just as important in the the growth and development of children.
When it comes to cuddling, more is better. – Summer, staff writer
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