How can motherly love reduce ADHD symptoms?
Low birth weight infants, often born prematurely, have a range of health issues including ADHD and other learning problems ( Extremely Low Birth Weight Children and Learning Disorders ). In an remarkable study by King’s College, London and the University of Wisconsin, researchers talked to the mothers of twins born with low birth weight once the children were five years old. By analyzing how the mother talked about the twins they assigned a maternal warmth score. This score was based on the tone of voice, spontaneity, sympathy, and/or empathy toward the child. The persons conducting the interviews were all highly trained with appropriate scientific backgrounds to ensure that maternal warmth scores were objective measures. The mothers were also asked to rate the children’s for signs of ADHD as were the children’s teachers. The twins IQ was also measured.
As expected the study found a link between more ADHD, lower IQ and low birth weight. They also found that larger maternal warmth scores were linked to lower ADHD symptoms however it found no link to IQ. A strong maternal bond to infants is important in many ways but it appears that it is especially important for those at risk of ADHD. Building a close and loving link between parent and child in those all important infant and toddler years can help prevent ADHD.
Does Maternal Warmth Moderate the Effects of Birth Weight on Twins’ Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Symptoms and Low IQ? [ PDF ]