Baby Stress, Early Death?

Aren’t zebra finch couples cute?

She better just hope he didn’t have too much tension in the nest when he was a baby.

A recent study out of the University of Glasgow looked at the long-term effects of stress hormones on zebra finch chicks. Not surprisingly, they found that a stressful chickhood increases the likelihood of early death for the birds.

Somewhat unexpected was the finding that the mates of these grown up stress babies (zebra finches tend to form strong pair bonds) also die earlier than those without their own or a mate’s stress to deal with.

Even worse were the birdie couples that had two stressed mates. Nearly half of those zebra finch were dead within three short years.

No one needs to hear that stress kills – we already know that. But when you think about stress reduction, make sure your efforts go beyond calming just your own nerves and thoughts. Pay attention to how your moods affect those of your partner, and tell them you understand that your upset can make things tough for them as well.

There’s nothing we can do about the stress we had in our childhoods. However, when we are expecting and raising our own children, it might be in their best interests (and their future partners’) to keep tension low in the home. Consider trying things like age-appropriate yoga, meditation and deep breathing with your kids. Teaching them to ease stress now can provide them with the tools to do so in the future.

And if you have zebra finch pets, maybe try the yoga with them too.


Science News, Early Stress is Contagious in Adulthood

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