Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Teach Your Children Well: Focused, Happier Kids Grow Up To Be Healthier Adults, Study Finds

Date:
May 7, 2009
Source:
American Psychological Association
Summary:
Children who can stay focused and don't sweat the small stuff have a better shot at good health in adulthood -- and this is especially true for girls, according to a new study.

Children who can stay focused and don't sweat the small stuff have a better shot at good health in adulthood -- and this is especially true for girls, according to a new study.

"Certain characteristics already evident early in life are likely to spark positive or negative emotions, and also influence biological and behavioral responses to stress," said lead author Laura D. Kubzansky, PhD, of the Harvard School of Public Health. "Some traits may contribute to developing healthier behaviors and better social relationships, and ultimately more resilience in mid-life.

"Supporting this idea, we found that children who were able to stay focused on a task and react less negatively to situations at age 7 reported better general health and fewer illnesses 30 years later.

Kubzansky and co-authors tracked 569 individuals from the National Collaborative Perinatal Project from age 7 to their mid-30s to see if certain personality traits influenced later health. Trained observers rated the 7-year-olds on 15 different behaviors. These behaviors were then assigned to three different personality attributes: attention (the ability to stay focused on a task and persist in solving a problem), distress-proneness (the tendency to react negatively to situations), and behavior inhibition (the tendency toward shyness, acting withdrawn and having difficulty communicating).

To determine adult health, the participants rated their health and reported whether they had any of the following illnesses: heart disease, diabetes, cancer, asthma, arthritis, stroke, bleeding ulcer, tuberculosis or hepatitis.

For all the participants, superior attention spans and having a more positive outlook in youth affected health the most. These effects were greater for women, the researchers found. The authors suggest that women may be more sensitive to interactions among emotion, behavior and biology and, therefore, be more predisposed to certain health risks, such as heart disease, although additional research is needed to understand this more completely.

The authors found no differences in these effects across race or ethnicity; they also controlled for childhood health and socicoeconomic status.

The sample consisted of 60 percent men and 40 percent women; 80 percent of participants were white and 20 percent were black. Of the sample, 76 percent reported good or excellent health and 18 percent reported illnesses.

"This longitudinal study provides more evidence that behavior and emotions generally linked to certain temperaments play a crucial role in long-term health," Kubzansky said. "Fortunately, early childhood characteristics can be shaped and guided by social, family and peer interactions. Interventions can focus on altering certain ways of responding and behaviors that frequently accompany particular traits to prevent certain diseases."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Laura D. Kubzansky et al. Early Manifestations of Personality and Adult Health: A Life Course Perspective. Health Psychology, Vol. 13, No. 1

Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association. "Teach Your Children Well: Focused, Happier Kids Grow Up To Be Healthier Adults, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090506144320.htm>.
American Psychological Association. (2009, May 7). Teach Your Children Well: Focused, Happier Kids Grow Up To Be Healthier Adults, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090506144320.htm
American Psychological Association. "Teach Your Children Well: Focused, Happier Kids Grow Up To Be Healthier Adults, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090506144320.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he expects revised CDC protocols on Ebola to focus on training, observation and ensuring health care workers are more protected. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
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


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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