Babies who receive more affection from mothers may experience less anxiety in adulthood, U.S. study finds

A new U.S. study suggests that the more affection babies received from their mothers as infants, the less anxiety they were likely to feel as adults.
The findings were made by Joanna Maselko of Duke University in North Carolina, after she studied the interaction between 482 mothers and infants at 8 months old, and compared these with follow-up tests in adulthood.
Mothers were assessed on their reaction to their child's developmental test results, and the degree of maternal affection and attention to the baby was rated by a psychologist from "negative" to "extravagant."
Researchers involved in the study wanted to test whether strong emotional bonds in early childhood provide a solid basis for tackling problems later in life. In the past, such research was based solely on childhood memories and information gathered during the first years of life.

The results showed that infants who were showered with excess amounts of affection had the lowest levels of anxiety, hostility and general distress, according to Maselko. However, the findings did not confirm the inverse that lower levels of mothers' affection translated to elevated levels of distress.

To read the full study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, click here.