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A mother's stress may affect her child's health.

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Stressed-out moms may have one more reason to feel guilty: According to a new study, they could be make their child's asthma symptoms worse. The Japanese study - which followed 223 mothers for a year - found a link between moms who were often angry or irritated and more severe symptoms in their children, especially those under the age of 7.

These results stood, the researchers say, no matter how well the mother complied with medical advice or treatment, and regardless of overall parenting style. (In older children, the study suggested, worsening asthma symptoms were more often linked to overprotective parenting.) Researchers suggest that the parent's stress may be translating into psycho-physiological symptoms in their children.

Moms with young children diagnosed with asthma should "pay more attention to reducing their own stress," as opposed to how they parent, suggested Jun Nagano, one of the researchers at the Kyushu University of Institute of Health Science. Moms with older kids should be careful "too avoid too much interference with their children."

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It's not the first study to suggest a parent's stress may affect a child's health. A study in Finland released earlier this year suggested that teenagers with parents suffering from burnout were more likely to experience school burnout themselves. The researchers found that the link was strongest with parents of the same gender - that is, between moms and daughters, and fathers and sons.

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About the Author

Erin Anderssen writes about mental health, social policy and family issues. More

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