Stress can be contagious: infants can catch it from their mothers
New research shows that babies not only pick up on their mother’s stress, they also show corresponding physiological changes.
"Our research shows that infants ‘catch’ and embody the physiological residue of their mothers’ stressful experiences," says lead researcher Sara Waters, postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, San Francisco.
The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
"For many years now, social scientists have been interested in how emotions are transmitted from one person to another," says senior author Wendy Berry Mendes, the Sarlo/Ekman Associate Professor of Emotion at UCSF. Indeed, research in the social sciences has shown that emotions can be "contagious" and that there is emotional synchrony between romantic partners.