When Mum’s stressed at work kids feel it too
Researchers say that children whose mothers do not enjoy their jobs also suffer increased stress.
A research team from the universities of Bath, Kent and Bristol, say they found higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in those children whose mothers found their jobs less rewarding or left them feeling emotionally exhausted, compared to women who reported more enjoyment from their work.
But the researchers also say that spending longer in childcare could help overcome the stress experienced by children whose mothers had low job satisfaction.
In the body the steroid hormone cortisol regulates blood pressure, cardiovascular function and immune function, as well as controlling the body’s use of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Physical or psychological stress increases the secretion of the hormone in response to stress, and without this response the body would not be able to function.
However if levels remain high or are disrupted for a long period of time, it can have an effect on health.
The researchers, took saliva samples from 56 children aged 3-4, in the morning and evening, and also questioned the mothers about their workplace conditions and home life over six months.
It was found that levels of cortisol in the evening were more than doubled in children whose mothers reported low job satisfaction.
The researchers suggest that for these women, placing their children in childcare would help to significantly reduce the stress their children experienced, and good quality childcare was one way of promoting healthy adaptation to stress in youngsters.
The researchers also found that children from families that were either highly expressive or reserved had higher than average levels of cortisol.
The study is published in the journal Developmental Psychobiology.
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