Nurturing as a Protective Factor

Being a good parent may protect your children from the long-term health effects of poverty, according to a study published in the November 2011 edition of Psychological Science, the journal from the Association for Psychological Science.

The researchers found that children who had been raised in poverty often experienced chronic health issues later in life, however, a small subset of low-income children remained healthy throughout their lives. Closer examination of various factors identified a high level of maternal nurturing as the primary barrier or protective factor against chronic health problems, even more than achieving a higher socioeconomic status as an adult. Clearly, data and long-term outcomes support concern for the emotional well being of children, making it as important as care for their physical needs. Children benefit from being raised in a loving, safe, stable environment.

The study abstract is available online but the full article can only be accessed through a subscription service (check your local or university library system).

Study citation: Miller GE, Lachman ME, Chen E, Gruenewald TL, Karlamangla AS, Seeman TE.
Pathways to Resilience: Maternal Nurturance as a Buffer Against the Effects of
Childhood Poverty on Metabolic Syndrome at Midlife. Psychol Sci. 2011 Nov 28.
[Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 22123777.