BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in:  Health
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Background Briefings 
Medical notes 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Monday, 13 May, 2002, 00:17 GMT 01:17 UK
Stressed parents 'damage children'
Stress can increase blood pressure in some people
Children whose parents cope badly with stress may be at increased risk of heart disease later in life, according to experts.

Researchers in the US believe that parents who avoid conflict or do not express feelings adequately set a poor example for their offspring.

They have suggested the health implications can be particularly serious if there is a family history of high blood pressure.


For offspring of hypertensive parents, certain behavioural styles of interacting in relationships might predispose them to essential hypertension or cardiovascular disease

Dr Nicole Frazer
They found that the offspring of parents with high blood pressure who do not cope well in stressful situations react even more negatively to such incidents.

Psychologists from West Virginia University examined the behavioural responses, heart rate and blood pressure of 64 healthy college students during stressful mental activities.

Family history

Half of these had parents with a history of high blood pressure or hypertension. The other half did not.

Those who had a family history of hypertension had higher resting heart rates. They also recorded higher blood pressure levels during the mental tasks and their verbal and non-verbal behaviour was more negative.

This included more rolling of the eyes, sighing and lack of eye contact.

Writing in the journal Health Psychology, Dr Nicole Frazer and colleagues said further research was needed.

But they added: "This suggests that for offspring of hypertensive parents, certain behavioural styles of interacting in relationships might predispose them to essential hypertension or cardiovascular disease."

They suggested that if similar studies backed up their findings, psychologists and other health professionals could draw up programmes to help break the cycle.

They said these could include interventions involving conflict management, relaxation, assertiveness and social skills training.

They suggested that learning such skills could break the cycle of how parents and their children react to stressful situations, which in turn they said would reduce their risk of heart disease later in life.

The authors said: "Further research examining behavioural and cardiovascular response to stress and the development of cardiovascular diseases is needed among offspring of hypertensive parents to allow researchers to determine which factors are most important for developing prevention programmes for persons of hypertensive parentage."

See also:

28 Sep 99 | Health
Public ignorant on blood pressure
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories