Can public displays of affection result in health benefits for your kids?
A research team at Wayne State University recently came across some shocking data that will have lovey-dovey parents everywhere jumping for joy.
In a study published in the Journal of Health Psychology, researchers found that positive, intimate interaction between parents can lead to health benefits in their children.
The study surveyed 80 children. All of whom were aged 10-17, had asthma, and lived with married parents, or a parent in a long-term relationship. All of the children were required to record daily logs in a journal. They were asked to keep track of things like their asthma symptoms, attitudes and mood, and general observations of interaction between their parents. Examples of the interaction range from “Mum and Dad had a verbal spat” to ‘Mum and Dad kissed/hugged”.
In past studies, researchers have yielded data that proves negative parental conflicts can result in negative effects on a child’s health and wellbeing. Well, this study worked to show the opposite of those effects. The research team was shocked to see that the children who witnessed typical acts of PDA (public displays of affection, for those who don’t know) reported reductions in their asthma symptoms!
Dr. Samuel Zilioli of the Wayne State University research team states:
“Parents should be aware that children respond emotionally not only to the direct interactions they have with their parents, but also to the interactions their parents have between each other. In turn, these children’s emotional responses can affect their health.”
Now before you go smooching your spouse in front of your kids in an effort to cure their tummy ache, you should know that the research is still ongoing. In fact, with only 80 kids surveyed, it’s easy to see that the sample size is pretty small. Not to mention that the children were only recording data for a total of four days. So there really isn’t much data to support the study so far.
Though more research needs to be conducted before the claims are validated, there’s no denying that having a fair share of hugs, kisses, and “i love yous” int he house isn’t going to hurt anyone. In fact, because children analyze and perceive relationships differently than adults, PDAs can noticeably comfort younger children. Affection can help to reassure them that their parent’s are in a good place, and will comfort the child with a sense of emotional security.
It’s also worth noting that children who feel more at ease in their homes, often deal with far less stress. Obviously, stress is a major component in numerous sicknesses and afflictions. So, in other words, a little PDA might be more beneficial than you may have known!