University of Glasgow Logo The home environment seems to play a major role in maintaining mental wellbeing of an individual. A latest study triggered by the University of Glasgow and the Medical Research Council asserts that children’s perception of how they are parented is a major predictor of whether they will develop mental health problems as teens. The study findings supposedly have great significance in the medical world.

At the time of the study, scientists scrutinized data from almost 1,700 children living in the West of Scotland. It was pointed out that 3 percent of 11 year-olds felt both neglected and controlled by their parents. On testing the kids at age 15, this group appeared much more likely to have developed psychiatric problems. Kids were then grouped according to ‘parenting style.’ The ‘neglected and controlled’ group apparently was more than twice as likely to develop psychiatric disorders. Some of these anxiety disorders were obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression and behavioral disorders.

“Whilst only three per cent of children reported the neglectful and controlling parenting which was associated with increased psychiatric disorders, when the implications are expanded this equates to a large number of children nationwide. We must also consider the possibility that developing disorders in childhood increases the risk of more serious problems in adulthood, both for the individual and for society in general. A core part of the MRC’s strategy focuses on mental health, and this study gives clear indications of the importance of the home environment in maintaining mental wellbeing,” added Professor Chris Kennard, Chairman of the MRC’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Board.

Conduct disorders namely antisocial and violent behavior as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appeared much more prominent in this group. Teenage girls allegedly were six times more likely to suffer from depressive disorders than those in the ‘optimum parenting’ group, where parents are perceived as being caring but not controlling. Authors evaluated parenting style by means of a questionnaire that considered the extent to which the children felt loved, allowed to make their own decisions, molly-coddled or supported, amongst other factors. At age 15, psychiatric data was gathered by computerized interview.

On completion of the study, it was pointed out that majority of children’s experience of parenting is ‘good enough’, and less than perfect parenting is not associated with major psychiatric problems during adolescence. Those with better perceived parental relationships may have fewer psychiatric problems as teens.

The study is published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.