Study Finds that People Who Grew Up with Overprotective Parents Have Shorter Lifespans

Study Finds that People Who Grew Up with Overprotective Parents Have Shorter Lifespans

According to a new study published in the Scientific Reports journal, people who grow up with overprotective parents tend to live shorter lives.

The research shows that men who grew up with an excessively protective dad and little independence may have a 12 percent greater risk of passing away before becoming 80 years old.

On the other hand, women who had an equally overprotective dad may be 22 percent more likely to pass away before their eightieth birthday.

Alternatively, the mortality risk may drop by 14 percent among women who had a good relationship with their moms as children.

Interestingly enough, the study also found that men have a 179 percent greater chance of passing away before the age of 80 if they grew up with only one parent.

The team reached these conclusions by examining 941 ELSA (English Longitudinal Study of Aging) participants (445 women, 496 men) who passed away between 2007 and 2018.

One author of the paper, Tiago Silva Alexandre, says that “The results of the analysis refer to people who’d now be elderly, and they would not necessarily be the same for later generations.”

The subjects’ responses to questionnaires about a variety of aspects of their lives, such as family structure, housing, the job of the head of household, and their relationships with parents during childhood and teenhood, particularly care and protection, were then analyzed.

About this, Alexandre states that “The most interesting thing about the study is that we were able to show in clear numbers what’s been discussed about parenting for years. Caring and loving relationships with your mother and father during childhood have repercussions for the rest of your life. In particular, our team’s findings show how they affect longevity. Public policy should support better childhood conditions in order for people to enjoy old age.”

Kids’ development can be negatively impacted by authoritarianism, permissiveness, and negligence, according to research on the mental effects of child-parent relationships.

First author of the study, Aline Fernanda de Souza Canelada, stresses that “What we call care is a matter of not neglecting but being present and of taking care without overprotecting. Kids need parental care and support, but not intrusion, which deprives them of autonomy. Research in psychology shows that this sort of relationship is weak too, because the child is afraid of their parent, which leads to various problems, including unhealthy habits, with studies showing an increased risk of alcohol and drug abuse, but also mental health difficulties overall.”

This study is the first to look into how a parent’s absence or poor parental relationship with their offspring can shorten the latter’s lifespan.

Canelada asserts that while men are prone to alcohol and drug abuse, women are more likely to internalize negative emotions and experience mental health problems as a result of their poor relationships with their parents growing up.

But, as she pointed out, “in any event, both factors correlate closely with longevity.”


Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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