Childhood Trauma May Be Passed Down from Mothers to Daughters, Study Finds

by Shantell E. Jamison, December 4, 2017

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The daughters of women who experienced childhood trauma may be at an increased risk for serious psychiatric disorders, according to a study cited in The New York Times.

Researchers analyzed data collected from more than 46,000 children in Finland who were evacuated to Sweden during World War II between 1940 and 1944.

The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found that out of the 93,391 male and female offspring born between 1950 and 2010, female children with mothers who were evacuated to Sweden were twice as likely to be diagnosed and treated for a psychiatric illness compared to their female cousins who were not evacuated.

According to the study’s researchers, the children were four times as likely to be bipolar or have depression. Researchers found no effect among male children. There was also no effect regarding the children of fathers who were evacuated.

 

“The most important takeaway is that childhood trauma can be passed on to offspring,” Dr. Torsten Santavirta, the study’s lead author, said, “and the wrinkle here is that these associations are sex-specific.”

Click here for the full study.

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