Raised cortisol levels have been found in children separated from family for thirty or more hours a week, especially those in substandard care:
The authors say that raised cortisol levels are a sign of stress and that the time children spend with their parents is biologically more important than is often realised. Stress has been associated with children, particularly boys, acting aggressively. Not all children are affected, but an important minority are. Raised cortisol levels are associated with reduced antibody levels and changes in those parts of the brain which are associated with emotional stability.
“Environmental factors interact with genes, so that genes can be altered, and once altered by adverse childhood experiences, can pass to future generations. Such epigenetic effects need urgent study,” say the authors.
Sir Denis added: “Future research should explore the links between the care of small children in different settings, their cortisol levels, DNA, and behaviour.”SAGE, “ Childcare outside the family for the under-threes: cause for concern?” at ScienceDaily
It would, of course, make sense that a stressful environment would alter small children’s biochemistry and, from what we know, possibly their genes. But these conclusions are politically incorrect, of course, so don’t be surprised if the authors are hearing from people who simply couldn’t evaluate the questions rationally and don’t particularly want more research.
See also: Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!