Persistent LHPA Activation in German Individuals Raised in an Overprotective Parental Behavior
Bornstein, S R
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Parental upbringing may affect their offspring’s mental state across the entire lifespan. Overprotective parental child-rearing style may increase the disease burden in the offspring. Furthermore, this child-rearing style may also play a pathogenetic role by transmitting trauma- and stressor-related disorders (TSRD) across generations. Studies with animals have demonstrated that the mother’s immediate and expansive protection of the newborn decreases the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (LHPA) axis activity in the offspring. However, few studies have investigated how stress impact humans raised in an overprotective manner. In a cross-sectional study with 40 healthy students recalling their overprotective upbringing, we show an increase in the dehydroepiandrostendione (DHEA) concentration and a reduction in the cortisol/DHEA-ratio in hair. Additionally, this child rearing style was associated with heightened indications of mental burden, depressiveness, and sense of coherence. Our results provide insight into the roots and consequences of psychological trauma across several generations. Further investigations focusing particularly on multigenerational transmission in extremely burdened families will augment our results.