Story of the day: Mean mom Genes

NPR’s All Things Considered ran a story about how, according to neutroscientists, tough economic times could affect parenting, specifically mothering.

Here is the introduction to segment:

A gene that affects the brain’s dopamine system appears to have influenced mothers’ behavior during a recent economic downturn, researchers say.

At the beginning of the recession that began in 2007, mothers with the “sensitive” version of a gene called DRD2 became more likely to strike or scream at their children, the researchers say. Mothers with the other “insensitive” version of the gene didn’t change their behavior.

But once it appeared that the recession would not become a full-fledged depression, the “sensitive” mothers became less likely than “insensitive” mothers to engage in harsh parenting.

“You have the same genes, and with a different environment it’s a completely different story,” says Irwin Garfinkel, a professor of contemporary urban problems at Columbia University. “I think that’s the most amazing part of what we found.”

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August 17, 2013 · 12:33 pm

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