Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Infant Abuse Linked To Early Experience, Not Genetics

Date:
July 3, 2005
Source:
University of Chicago
Summary:
Intergenerational transmission of infant abuse is more likely caused by early experience than genetic inheritance, a new University of Chicago research on macaque monkeys shows. "Maternal abuse of offspring in macaque monkeys shares some similarities with child maltreatment in humans, including its transmission across generations," said Dario Maestripieri, an Associate Professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago.

Intergenerational transmission of infant abuse is more likely caused by early experience than genetic inheritance, new University of Chicago research on macaque monkeys shows.

Related Articles


"Maternal abuse of offspring in macaque monkeys shares some similarities with child maltreatment in humans, including its transmission across generations," said Dario Maestripieri, Associate Professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago.

"The mechanisms underlying the intergenerational transmission of abuse are not well understood," said Maestripieri, who is also an affiliate scientist at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University. " Ours is the first study to show that rhesus monkey females who are abused by their mothers in infancy tend to become abusive mothers themselves, and the first to provide experimental evidence that the intergenerational transmission of abuse is the result of early experience and not genetic inheritance," he said.

Maestripieri reports his findings in an article, "Early Experience Affects the Intergenerational Transmission of Infant Abuse in Rhesus Monkeys," published in the online Early Edition of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA the week of June 27-July 1.

Among macaque monkeys, most of the abuse occurs in the first six months of an infant's life, and most of that abuse occurs during the first month. The abuse consists of such behavior as biting, dragging or hitting.

Maestripieri and his research team cross-fostered female infants between abusive and non-abusive mothers and followed these infants, along with others who were reared by their biological mothers until they gave birth.

Nine of the 16 females who were abused in infancy by their biological or foster mothers were abusive toward their own offspring, while none of the 15 females reared by non-abusive mothers were abusive toward their offspring.

In particular, the researchers found that none of the offspring who were born to abusive mothers but raised by non-abusive foster mothers developed abusive parenting patterns, suggesting that genetic factors do not play a primary role in the intergenerational transmission of abuse.

The research may provide insights into how child abuse is transmitted in human families, Maestripieri said. Researchers estimate that as many 70 percent of the people who abuse their children were abused themselves growing up, Maestripieri added.

"In humans, we aren't ruling out genetics entirely, as some temperamental characteristics, such as impulsivity, may be inherited and have an impact on a parent's potential to abuse children," he said. "What would be interesting to study would be the situations in which infants are abused but do not go on to become abusive parents.

"In monkeys, as in humans, support from social networks may buffer individuals against the negative consequences of early abuse, making them more resilient and less likely to become abusive adults," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago. "Infant Abuse Linked To Early Experience, Not Genetics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 July 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050701062300.htm>.
University of Chicago. (2005, July 3). Infant Abuse Linked To Early Experience, Not Genetics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050701062300.htm
University of Chicago. "Infant Abuse Linked To Early Experience, Not Genetics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050701062300.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins