Being Responsive Can Lessen Your Baby's Fussiness

Article excerpt

"It's hereditary."

This phrase has often been used to explain certain medical conditions such as heart diseases, diabetes, asthma and even obesity. And just like these conditions, depression has long been known to be partially hereditary.

But a study on adopted infants, published in the September issue of the journal Developmental Psychology, found out that a nurturing environment can ease the effects of a family history of depression.

Good parenting seems to be the answer to the problem. The study found out that babies whose birth mothers had depression are more prone to fussiness than babies without a family history of depression but only when their adoptive moms weren't attentive and responsive to them.

"These findings reconfirm the idea that development is malleable," study co-author Misaki Natsuaki, a psychologist at the University of California, Riverside, said.

Natsuaki and her team turned to adoptive families to carry out the research in order to separately analyze the difference between nature (the child's genes) and nurture (the child's environment, wherein the analysis will be difficult if the parents and kids involved in the study are biologically related.

The researchers collected data on 281 families, each consisting of a mother and father and an adopted infant, plus the child's birth mother. …