The following is excerpted from an online article posted by ScienceAlert.
We’ve known for some time that anxiety runs in families, but research now suggests that anxiety disorders are passed down from mother to daughter and that having a father without anxiety protects sons from developing the condition.
Researchers looked at the role of nature versus nurture in the development of anxiety, examining a dataset of around 400 Canadian children aged around 10 who had previously participated in a study focused on families at risk for mood disorders.
In the study, the kids who had a same-sex parent with an anxiety disorder had almost three times the chance of developing the same condition compared with their peers.
A mother’s anxiety disorder (but not a father’s) increased their daughter’s risk of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition in the study.
Sons were no more likely to have an anxiety disorder if their father had one, but if their father didn’t have an anxiety disorder, that lowered the son’s risk of developing one.
Overall, having an opposite-sex parent without an anxiety condition was not protective in the same way as having a same-sex parent without the condition.
The study could not demonstrate cause and effect because it was observational and retrospective.
The study was published in JAMA Network Open.