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Recession-sensitive parenting

Child rearing by mothers with gene variant became more aggressive

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12:14pm, August 26, 2011

LAS VEGAS — Recent economic woes in the United States may have triggered a temporary upturn in the use of harsh parenting methods by mothers carrying a particular gene variant.

Mothers who inherited either one or two copies of a particular form of the dopamine D2 receptor gene, dubbed DRD2, cited sharp rises in spanking, yelling and other aggressive parenting methods for six to seven months after the onset of the economic recession in December 2007, sociologist Dohoon Lee of New York University reported August 22 at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting.

Hard-line child-rearing approaches then declined for a few months and remained stable until a second drop to pre-recession levels started around June 2009, the research showed.

Mothers who didn’t inherit the gene variant displayed no upsurge in aggressive parenting styles after the recession started, Lee and his colleagues found.

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