“Experiencing personal growth from going through tough
times doesn’t mean you’re doing well.” — WILBUR SCOT T
Support troops feel stress of war
By Bruce Bower
Soldiers fighting at the tip of the
spear—the leading edge of combat — confront bloodshed, suffering and
dying. But the success of those soldiers’
operations depends on a huge network
of service and support personnel who
themselves face considerable and often
overlooked war stress, says military sociologist Wilbur Scott of the U. S. Air Force
Academy in Colorado Springs.
After returning from deployment,
National Guard combat service personnel
— including clerks, truck drivers, medics
and supply officers — displayed slightly
less emotional resilience and described
more stress while overseas and after
returning home than their comrades
engaged in combat, Scott reported August
20. Service personnel cited deployment
stress triggered by exposure to danger,
life-threatening situations and death.
Mothers with gene variant
became more aggressive
prerecession levels started around June
2009, the research showed.
Mothers who didn’t inherit the gene
variant displayed no upsurge in aggres-
sive parenting styles after the recession
started, Lee and his colleagues found.
As the recession progressed, mothers
with the crucial DRD2 variant apparently
adjusted enough to tougher economic
times to allow for a return to prereces-
sion parenting practices, Lee proposes.
Economic uncertainty may prompt
harsh parenting in genetically predisposed individuals as much as economic
hardship and poverty do, Lee said.
His findings reveal one potential
genetic pathway by which large-scale
economic developments affect child-rearing styles, remarked sociologist Yang
Yang of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She said that further
research is needed to confirm that mothers who treated their kids more harshly
in response to the recession gradually
adjusted to new economic realities and
thus became less aggressive parents.
By Bruce Bower
Recent economic woes in the United
States may have triggered a temporary
upturn in the use of harsh parenting
methods by mothers carrying a particular gene variant.
Mothers who inherited either one or
two copies of a particular form of the
dopamine D2 receptor gene, dubbed
DRD2, cited sharp rises in spanking, yelling and other aggressive parenting methods for six to seven months after the onset
of the economic recession in December
2007, sociologist Dohoon Lee of New
York University reported August 22.
Hard-line child-rearing approaches
then declined for a few months and
remained stable until a second drop to
The same DRD2 gene variant that Lee
and colleagues linked to harsher parent-
ing during the recession has previously
been tied to a propensity for violence,
tivity disorder and several other psy-
chiatric conditions. Still, other research
questions whether any link exists
between DRD2 and mental ailments.
September 24, 2011 | SCIENCE NEWS | 9