As I learn more and more about how the nurturing a baby gets in its first year of life influences the develoment of the brain and the oxytocin response, I wonder whether modern childrearing practices -- bottle feeding, multitasking, daycare -- may create entire generations with an impaired ability to bond.
An intriguing but vague press release from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona adds some evidence that this might be true.
The UAB department of Clinical and Health Psychology is doing a study of children aged three to six in Catalonia, the region of Spain that saw great oppression under the fascist dictator Franco in the 1930s. The researchers hope that by early detection of emotional and behavioral disorders, they can heal these children and change the course of their lives while they are still relatively malleable.
According to the press release,
The results show a high percentage of children in this age group with some kind of psychopathological symptom.
The research consists of multiple field studies that are looking at the differences between children living in urban areas and those living in the country, the appearance of physical symptoms, and whether parents and teachers can detect evidence of developing depression or other disorders.
This is the first such study undertaken in Catalonia, and the press release says that the geographical location is an important aspect of the study; therefore data from studies in other countries may not apply.
Still unanswered questions: What percentage of kids show psychopathological symptoms? Do the researchers think there's something about the Catalonian history, culture or values that contributes to this?