BBC Earth (Asia) - - Science -

Ev­ery­one gets stressed, but some peo­ple seem more sus­cep­ti­ble to pres­sures get­ting on top of them. It’s not just a sim­ple mat­ter of ge­net­ics – although sci­en­tists have found genes that do seem to af­fect our abil­ity to cope when the go­ing gets tough. What’s be­com­ing in­creas­ingly clear is that stress in child­hood can af­fect the way genes ex­press them­selves, and these epi­ge­netic changes seem to be linked with con­di­tions such as de­pres­sion.

Stud­ies in an­i­mals are show­ing that stress in early life makes it much more likely that stress will prompt mood prob­lems in adult­hood. Child­hood stress seems to trig­ger bio­chem­i­cal changes that al­ter the way genes ex­press them­selves. Once they’ve hap­pened, these ‘epi­ge­netic’ changes can be passed down through the gen­er­a­tions. So the stresses your par­ents or grand­par­ents ex­pe­ri­enced in child­hood may ac­count for why you’re eas­ily wiped out by high-pres­sure sit­u­a­tions.

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