Bad schools or an unsafe neighborhood can affect a child’s health. So too can a parent’s stress level.
According to a recent study from the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, children living in stressful households are more vulnerable to lung damage from air pollution than children whose parents are less stressed out. Specifically, the authors found that children living in stressed households were 5 percent more likely to be affected by an increase in polluted air. That same increase in pollutants near a child in a low-stress household showed roughly no change in their lung function. [Read a Reuters report on the study.]
The article follows another by the same authors, released earlier this year, which found that children exposed to traffic–related air pollution and high stress homes were 51 percent more likely to develop asthma than other children.
Parental Stress Increases the Detrimental Effect of Traffic Exposure on Children’s Lung Function (American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine)
Parents’ stress tied to pollution’s effect on kids (Reuters Health)
Living Near Heavy Traffic Increases Asthma Severity (UCLA Center for Health Policy Research)