Relationship with new parents can reduce anxiety levels in adopted children: Study.
Washington: A strong relationship with adoptive parents positively affects brain development and long term health of the adopted child, reveals a new study published in the journal ‘Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging’.
"This remarkable study in a large sample of children who were adopted out of institutions provides new insights into how parenting can have a positive impact on brain function related to emotion processing," said Cameron Carter.
The study focused on the impact of parental influence on later emotion regulation in children.The research team used brain imaging technology to observe ‘amygdala’ response to pictures of parents from those children who lived in foster care before adoption.
This was compared with the responses of those children who always lived with their biological parents. The children who experienced early foster care didn’t demonstrate the ‘amygdala’ response that mediates the positive parental influence.
Researchers also looked at responses of children who reported a secure relationship with their adoptive parent; their ‘amygdala’ responses predicted a higher decline in anxiety symptoms three years later.
"A strong parent-child relationship is always important for brain and behavioural development, but the current findings suggest that such relationships may be especially important following early institutional care," said Nim Tottenham, senior author.
The findings suggest that the decrease of amygdala activity in response to parents during childhood protects against later symptoms of anxiety after early separation from parents.
"These are important findings, as they show that even following early adverse experiences, post-adoption factors can make a difference in emotional health, and highlight a neural mechanism for doing so," said Dr Callaghan.