The role of early parental bonding in the development of psychiatric symptoms in adulthood


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Abstract

Purpose of reviewTo identify and discuss recent research concerning the association between parent–child relationships and psychiatric symptoms in adulthood.Recent findingsDespite their methodological limitations such as small sample sizes and inadequate follow-up periods, recent studies have shown that early parental bonding may play an important role either as a risk or protection factor for the development of psychiatric symptoms in adulthood. Affective enhancement and encouragement of autonomy seem to exert a protective effect, whereas emotional neglect and overprotection seem to be risk factors for the development of psychiatric symptoms in adulthood.SummaryCurrent available data indicate that parent–child relationships may prevent or promote the development of psychiatric symptoms, mainly anxiety and depressive symptoms. In order to investigate the quality of parental bonding and its correlation with the level of psychological well being or psychiatric morbidity, further longitudinal studies with larger samples and adequate follow-up periods should be conducted.

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