Experiencing trauma at a young age can cause a lot of harm, but new research suggests certain benefits can be passed to other generations.
Scientists and health professionals have known for a long time that trauma at a young age can cause depression and anxiety later in life. It has also been recognized that such effects can be passed onto someone's children. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich have found the ability to cope with stress due to someone's experiences with trauma can also be passed down.
"We are not in any way suggesting that early-childhood trauma is somehow positive," said neuroepigeneticist Isabelle Mansuy. However, genes affected by the experiences of a parent may end up coincidentally leading to a child who can handle stressful situations better than if the parent hadn't experienced trauma. The effects are passed on through certain epigenetic influences, which is the way genes are taught to behave based on a person's experiences.
The research is published in the journal Nature Communications.