Nature and Nurture: How Parents’ Social Environments Impact Kids

A recent Viennese study of quail behavior adds weight to both sides of the nature versus nurture debate. Previous studies have proven that stress while pregnant impacts the offspring’s development, hormone levels, and behavior. But this recent study shows that social stress, in particular, has an especially strong outcome. What does this mean in practice, for humans? It means that children aren’t isolated from their parents’ social environments. Studies like this make a case for the physiological impact of social stress, but there are very likely psychological and inter-familial impacts as well. How we spend our time affects how we see the world, which affects how we treat others. Negative, stressful, competitive social relationships among adults not only wear away at those adults’ mental health, but they influence how those adults treat their kids when they return home. Maintaining negative friendships for the sake of social obligation may not be worth it after all.

© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • brenda


    January 5th, 2011 at 4:29 AM

    human relationships are vital but there are beneficial only if they are positive in nature and are not made just for obligatory purposes.

  • selena


    January 5th, 2011 at 5:32 AM

    There is no room for negative relationships in any of our lives and why so many of us continue to keep them as a aprt of our daily routine is beyond me. I need people to lift me up not bring me down and that is exactly what will happen when you allow this type of negativity to remain in your life. Life is too precious to ruin and waste on someone or something who brings no joy to life. And to now know that it can affect your children and their development too? Totally not worth it.



    January 5th, 2011 at 10:40 AM

    We pick up things from our environment and this is a natural thing to happen.And it is also natural that we imbibe what’s in us into our kids.So all this nature having an effect on nurture is natural!

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