Children with loving mothers are healthier in later life, according to research.
Adults who are very affectionate to their mother are more likely to be disease free and have a lower risk of depression.
Growing up in a loving home is believed to reduce stress and encourage a person to live better.
Children with loving mothers are healthier in later life, according to research (camp)
Michigan State University researchers analyzed data from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States and the Health and Retirement Study.
Together, these were more than 22,000 people.
The first study followed adults in their mid-40s for 18 years, while the second study followed those over 50 years of age for six years.
In both experiments, participants were asked how much their parents understood their problems as children, how much affection they gave and how much they had tried to teach them about the world.
Participants were also asked if they had been diagnosed with up to 27 diseases, including thyroid disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Depressive symptoms were assessed by asking if they had experienced any of the following side effects in the past two weeks: loss of interest in things, low energy, loss of appetite, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, sadness and thoughts of death.
CURIOUS KIDS EXERCISE AT SCHOOL
Curious children are better off at school, suggests the research.
Curious adolescents focus more on the classroom and therefore get better reading and mathematical test results, according to a study published last April.
Although children from disadvantaged backgrounds tend to fare worse at school, the researchers found that those who question the world around them do as well as their wealthy counterparts.
The main author Dr. Prachi Shah of the University of Michigan said: "Curiosity is characterized by the joy of discovery and the desire to explore and the motivation to seek answers to the unknown.
"Encouraging children's curiosity, especially those with economic disadvantages, can be a recognized way to close the performance gap."
The researchers believe that children from financially secure backgrounds have better access to books that promote reading and mathematical achievement.
Although adolescents from disadvantaged families may be more limited to these resources, curiosity may arouse the desire for knowledge, the researchers believe.
The results showed that the participants, who remembered the high degree of affection from their mothers, were healthier and less likely to be depressed.
Supporting, loving fathers also reduced the risk of depressive symptoms.
The results were not easy, but a reduced risk for chronic diseases was only found in the first study.
The research was published in the journal Health Psychology.
"We know that memory plays a big part in how we understand the world – how we organize our experiences so far and how we judge how we should act in the future," said lead author Dr. William Chopik.
"As a result, our memories of the past can guide us in different ways.
"We've found that good memories have a positive impact on health and well-being, perhaps by the way they reduce stress or help us make healthy choices in our lives."
He added, "The most surprising finding was that we thought the effects would subside over time as participants tried to remember things that had happened over 50 years ago.
"One might expect childhood memories to become less important over time, but these memories still predicted better physical and mental health when people were middle-aged and older adults."
The strength of attachment between a child and their parents has previously been shown to affect a person's relationships and their risk of substance abuse.
However, previous studies focused more on mothers and rarely rated the role of a father.
Although the current study found that the love of a mother affects the future of a child more than that of a father, he added. Chopik added that this could possibly change.
"These results may reflect the broader cultural circumstances of the time when participants were raised, as mothers were most likely the main caregivers," he said.
"By shifting cultural norms regarding the role of fathers in care, it is possible that the results of future studies on individuals born in recent years will focus more on relationships with their fathers."