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Children's Anxiety? It's the Parents' Fault

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A new study looking for a genetic link to anxiety concluded that your kid's fear of airplanes, bugs and/or tests was learned from you, Mom and Dad.

According to a new study, published this month in the American Journal of Psychiatry, some 30 percent of all people suffer from some form of anxiety, a response that starts expressing itself around 11 years of age. It's often quite prevalent in families, but through twin studies researchers found no genetic connection.

Which leaves a parent's own behaviors as a quite likely culprit for their kid's debilitating anxieties, Luisa Dillner reports in the Guardian.

Using data from the Swedish Twin and Offspring Study, the researchers compared anxiety levels in 385 families of identical twins to 486 of non-identical twins. To conclude that anxiety is genetic, they would have had to found that cousins whose parents were identical twins were more likely to have anxiety than those whose cousins had parents who were fraternal twins.

They didn't find that.

Instead, they found non-genetic factors likely play a role, which might be stating the obvious. Anxious parents teach their attentive kids what things to be fearful of.

So if you have anxiety and were feeling good about parenting, don't. Because you're doing it wrong—again.

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