According to Health Day News, mothers with a particular gene lean toward harsher parenting techniques during an economic recession. "The pattern was seen only in mothers with a particular gene variant related to the brain chemical dopamine. And those women reported using more harsh discipline only at the start of the recession, when local unemployment rates were most rapidly rising.
Experts said that suggests it's the onset of an economic downturn -- and the fear of job loss -- that may push some moms toward harsh discipline.
"We don't have direct evidence of this, but we think it's the fear, the anxiety over what's coming," said Irwin Garfinkel, one of the study authors and a professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work, in New York City.
"You see harsh parenting increase at the beginning of the recession, when unemployment rates were changing rapidly," Garfinkel said. "But then it starts going down, even as unemployment rates remain high."
What's more, the study found, the connection between the recession and harsh discipline seemed limited to mothers who carried a "sensitive" variant of a gene called DRD2." read more