PARENTS

Ignored Babies Suffer Stress Symptoms After Just Two Minutes

25/08/2010 11:28 | Updated 22 May 2015

A study has found that babies' production of the stress hormone cortisol goes into overdrive after just two minutes if they are ignored, and the effects can still still be apparent 24 hours later.

Canadian researchers and experts in child development undertook the study to discover whether babies and children could anticipate stressful situations, and how they reacted to them.

Thirty mums and babies were divided into two groups, with the youngsters strapped into car seats as their mothers played with them. Throughout the session, half of the mums would have two minute breaks where they stared above their child's head, their face devoid of expression. Throughout the session, cortisol levels were monitored.

Subsequent tests some 24 hours later showed the stress hormone rose significantly when the babies were ignored. They then subsided, before before rising again when they were taken back to the same room the experiment was carried out in, despite them not being ignored on the second day.

The second group of babies underwent the same process but without being ignored, and their cortisol levels remained much the same throughout the sessions.

Dr David Haley from the University of Toronto said: 'The results suggest that human infants have the capacity to produce an anticipatory stress response that is based on expectations about how their parents will treat them in a specific context.'

What do you think?

Do you notice a change in your baby's personality if you ignore him/her for even a few minutes?

Suggest a correction