Thursday, May 28, 2009

Close Families Raise...More? Less? (Pick One) Independent Adults

New research at the University of Haifa found that, contrary to common belief, young adults who maintain a close or moderate relationship with their parents exhibit greater independence in their personal lives than those who have a distant relationship.

In her research, Dr. Irit Yanir evaluated how a parent-child relationship is connected to one's ability to fulfill society's expectations in terms of settling down and establishing an intimate relationship. According Dr. Yanir, a close relationship with parents is one in which children talk with their parents often and regularly spend time together (eating meals together, for example), and one in which a child feels comfortable sharing his thoughts and experiences with his parents.

"An independent young adult is one who exhibits independence not only in his day-to-day life but also in the emotional sphere, and who makes his way in life with emotional and intellectual autonomy," she explained.

While a close relationship is often viewed as a sign of dependence, the research results show that those with close relationships with their parents were more financially self-sufficient, more independent in their day-to-day lives, professionally stable, felt more mature and were more likely to be involved in a stable intimate relationship. Those who maintained a distant relationship with their parents and tended to make choices out of a need to rebel against their parents' expectations were less independent into their late 20s.

So what answer did you pick for the title question? This research is a bit counter intuitive, but fascinating nevertheless. Do you think this helps make the case for the importance of eating dinner together?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Spouse Spats Mean Long Life?...apparently yes

According to preliminary results of a University of Michigan study, "Couples in which both the husband and wife suppress their anger when one attacks the other die earlier than members of couples where one or both partners express their anger and resolve the conflict."

Researchers looked at 192 couples over 17 years and placed the couples into one of four categories:
*Both partners communicate their anger
*In the second and third groups one spouse expresses while the other suppresses
*Both the husband and wife suppress their anger and brood

Get a load of this stat folks: "When both spouses suppress their anger at the other when unfairly attacked, earlier death was twice as likely than in all other types."

Granted that this is not a huge study, but it is still a very interesting one. The lead author of the study Ernest Harburg explained, "If couples have good parents they can imitate, that's fine, but usually the couple is ignorant about the process of resolving conflict. The key matter is, when the conflict happens, how do you resolve it?"

A final note: This release has a rather misleading title: "A Good Fight May Keep You and Your Marriage Healthy". It is not that fights are good for marriage; it's that anger suppression is bad.....and you can quote me!

So are you ready to drop those hyped up fish-oil potions that promise longevity and try something that really screaming at your spouse? JK

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Multiple Births Dilemma: Newsweek "My Turn"

With increased fertility treatments, the U.S. birthrate of twins has more than doubled in the past 30 years and the number of triplets has increased significantly. Parents often face a horrific decision.

Somewhat overlooked, are the surges of neonatal deaths, developmental disabilities, as well as other long-term problems. (I have described the consequences of delayed childbearing in several previous blog posts.)

Mark Evans, an Obstetrician and medical geneticist, described the procedure known as selective reduction in a recent Newsweek, My Turn. "This is accomplished - usually at 3 months gestation - by reducing the number of fetuses down to a manageable number, usually two."

What does selective reduction accomplish? A woman who is pregnant with quadruplets, has a 25% chance of losing all of her babies, but she can decrease the loss rate to about 5% by reducing to twins.

Question: How would you and your spouse respond to your doctor if he/she recommended selective reduction?

Monday, May 04, 2009

In Truth, Didn't We Create Octomom?

With our glorification of bizarre behavior, Raina Kelley correctly makes the point that we dare the emotionally needy to shock and appall us; then we slam them.

Kelley raises some solid issues in her recent essay in Newsweek.

She labels it as beautiful and exasperating, that our democracy gives people the freedom to have as many children as they want. She describes money and how having lots of it really does make the work-home balance thing a lot easier. And on the ethical question (described in an earlier blog post) of how many embryos should be transferred to a woman, Kelly states, "While the cost of IVF is usually mentioned, most of these experts conveniently forget to mention how few states force insurance companies to pay for IVF treatment."

She concludes that Octomom should be a warning to us that by sensationalizing her, "We're inviting more trivialization of the most sacred aspects of humanity."

How about you, have you had enough of those large family reality shows?