Parents need to only “get it right 50 percent of the time when responding to infants need for attachment” to have a positive impact on their development, says a study published in Child Development (May) by Lehigh University researcher Susan S. Woodhouse. An expert on infant attachment and an associate professor of counseling psychology at Lehigh U, Woodhouse studied 83 low socio-economic status mothers and infants at ages 4.5 months, seven, nine and 12 months to observe and assess infant attachment.
Researchers scored mother-baby pairs based on mothers’ responses to infants when they cried and concluded that infants understood their mothers were providing a “secure base” when they responded caringly at least 50 percent of the time. “The findings provide evidence for the validity of a new way of conceptualising the maternal caregiving quality that actually works for low-income families,” says Woodhouse, adding that securely attached infants are more likely to have better development outcomes in childhood and adulthood.
Men over 45 years put partners/children at health risk
Men have a ticking “biological clock”, just like women, says a new study published in the journal Maturitas (May) which concludes that older fathers are likely to place the health of their partners and unborn children at risk. The study, which reviewed 40 years of research on the effects of parental age on fertility, pregnancy and the health of children, found that men aged above 45 years experience decreased fertility and put their partners at risk of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and preterm birth. Also, infants born to older fathers are at higher risk of premature birth, late stillbirth, low birth weight, higher incidence of newborn seizures and birth defects such as congenital heart disease and cleft palate.
According to Gloria Bachmann, director of the Women’s Health Institute at Rutgers University’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, men who delay fatherhood should consult their doctor and consider banking their sperm before age 35. “In addition to advancing paternal age being associated with an increased risk of male infertility, there appears to be other adverse changes that may occur to the sperm with ageing,” says Bachmann.
Who’s your nanny? The smartphone?
Eight in ten mothers in India believe technology has made parenting easier, reveals a new survey conducted by YouGov, a London-based Internet market research and data analytics company. The study, which interviewed 700 mothers — categorised in two categories i.e ‘young mothers’ of children below three years of age and ‘old mothers’ of children aged four-18 years — indicates that an overwhelming majority of mothers (70 percent) use their smartphones and apps for parenting advice.
However the study also reveals that even though generally mothers in India rely heavily on their family and offline support groups for parenting advice, a higher number of young mothers are likely to consult online blogs for related information (50 percent), compared to older moms (41 percent).
Bullied teens suffer sleep deprivation & depression
Adolescents who experience cyber-bullying are more likely to suffer sleep deprivation and depression, says a study presented by Misol Kwon, lead author and doctoral student of the University of Buffalo (USA). The study was presented at SLEEP 2019, the 33rd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, held in San Antonio, USA last month.
The study, which surveyed 800 adolescents, found that one-third of bullied teens experienced sleep deprivation and depression including persistent irritability, anger and social withdrawal. According to Kwon, nearly 15 percent of US high school students have reported being electronically bullied.
“Cyber victimisation on the Internet and social media is a unique form of peer victimisation and an emerging mental health concern among teens who are digital natives. Understanding these associations supports the need to provide sleep hygiene education and risk prevention and interventions to bullied children who show symptoms of depression,” says Kwon.