Children whose mothers were overly stressed during pregnancy are more likely to become victims of bullying at school.
New research from the University of Warwick shows stress and mental health problems in pregnant women may affect the developing baby and directly increases the risk of the child being victimised in later life.
The study has been published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and is based on 8,829 children from the Avon Longtitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).
Professor Dieter Wolke, Professor of Developmental Psychology at University of Warwick and Warwick Medical School headed up the study.
He said: "This is the first study to investigate stress in pregnancy and a child's vulnerability to being bullied. When we are exposed to stress, large quantities of neurohormones are released into the blood stream and in a pregnant woman this can change the developing foetus' own stress response system.
"Changes in the stress response system can affect behaviour and how children react emotionally to stress such as being picked on by a bully. Children who more easily show a stress reaction such as crying, running away, anxiety are then selected by bullies to home in to."
The research team identified the main prenatal stress factors as severe family problems, such as financial difficulty or alcohol/drug abuse, and maternal mental health.
Professor Wolke added: "The whole thing becomes a vicious cycle, a child with an altered stress response system is more likely to be bullied, which affects their stress response even further and increases the likelihood of them developing mental health problems in later life."
'Prenatal Family Adversity and Maternal Mental Health', Suzet Tanya Lereya, Dieter Wolke, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
University of Warwick: http://www.warwick.ac.uk
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Fans of "Flappy Bird" may find its successor even more frustrating, but just as addictive
Even just the word Ebola is kind of terrifying. Why? Hollywood has a lot to do with it. But Ebola outbreaks also have all the ingredients for what one psychologist calls the "dread factor."
If we want to understand whats happening in the brain when people hear voices, we first need to understand what happens during ordinary inner speechHearing voices: whats your experience when reading?
Seals and sea lions may have brought a form of tuberculosis to the Americas, centuries before the Spanish did so
More people with non-fatal conditions are travelling to assisted dying clinics in Switzerland
We’re all born to adore ourselves, but not all of us grow up
Rumours of dubious treatments are spreading on social media in West Africa, while fishy Ebola treatments are being peddled to anxious US citizens
The type of Ebola erupting in West Africa is closely related to one found 2,500 miles away — the distance between Boston and San Francisco. How did the virus spread so far without anyone noticing?
The tendency of Clostridium novyi to kill mammal cells has been used to shrink tumours in dogs and people, so the bacteria could help fight some cancers
The Burns Collection consists of human cadavers from the early 1800s that were anatomically dissected and preserved to teach anatomy and surgery to medical students. For the first time this portion of the collection is on display to the public as a part of traveling exhibit "Mummies of the World: The Exhibition."