Childhood Feelings About Father May Have Lasting Effects, Study Shows

Father holding baby son

The way a man handles common stressors, like a traffic jam or a deadline, may depend on how he felt about his dad as he grew up, a new study examines.

Researchers explain how powerful a father-son relationship is, and how healthy relationships can be very protective for a growing boy.

During the study, researchers questioned 912 adults, both men and women, between the ages of 25 and 74 about their levels of stress over eight days. Those surveyed were also questioned about their relationships with their parents as a child.

Prior research suggests a lack of affection from mothers can drastically influence children as well. However, researchers have failed to provide adequate data on the impact of the father, which is what this study is evaluating.

This study showed people were more apt to explain positive relationships with their mother than their father. Also, sons appeared more likely than daughters to express they got along better with their mothers.

Researchers discussed how important moms were to both their sons and daughters regarding general mood. Both men and women with poor relationships with their mother during childhood showed more likely to be in a bad mood.

The research team discovered men with poor relationships with their fathers were as high as 4 percent more likely to experience stress during their day than other men. Also, they were more likely to develop an overall bad mood or experience health problems caused by their daily stress.

While the difference seems small, it is enough to severely affect the quality of life.

Men explaining their relationship with their father as “lacking support and affection” were also more likely to react negatively when experiencing common stressors. Many men explain their relationship with their father as “physically absent” or “completely uninvolved.”

Researchers also explain this may not be a sure cause and effect relationship, leaving the possibility open for additional factors causing men to become easily angered by simple stressors.

One potential bias of this research was those surveyed were adults raised by a male-female couple and the study recalled specific moments of their childhood.

Experts explain this research must not be over-analyzed, especially since other research has proven boys may not need specific role models to become healthy men.