London, Mar 19 : Stressed parents don't only make themselves susceptible to various diseases but also do the same for their kids, says a new University of Rochester study.
According to this first of its kind study, led by Dr Mary Caserta, sickness levels were found to be higher in children of anxious or depressed parents. Links between stress and immune system activity in the children was also indicated through the findings of this study.
However, a British scientist said that children were "highly resilient", and stressed that parents should not worry about the findings.
While, it's known that stress can lead to immune system changes rendering the person vulnerable to infections and other illnesses, the new study has offered evidence that the problem can be transmitted from parent to child.
For the study, parents of 169 children were tracked for a period exceeding three years, and the parents later recorded instances of childhood illness, before going through a six-month long psychiatric evaluation regime.
The results indicated that the total number of illnesses was much higher in the children of parents having higher levels of "emotional stress".
Thus the findings do hold true in suggesting a strong connection between parental stress and children's health.
Meanwhile, according to Dr David Jessop, a researcher in stress and health at Bristol University, longer-term studies were required for calculating both the immediate impact of the stress, and the way children recovered in periods of less parental anxiety.
He urged that it will be wrong for the research to deteriorate the dilemma of parents who are already suffering under stress.
"The 64,000 dollar question is, once this stress is alleviated, do the children's immune systems return to normal, or are they scarred for life? I believe that children are highly resilient, and their systems are sufficiently robust to cope with this. Although it is a good study, parents should not let it worry them unduly," the BBC quoted him, as telling New Scientist.