Fighting in front of your children could lead to them getting sick more often. Their brains may also not be developing optimally, according to two recently published studies.

After scientists scanned the brains of children who have experienced mild to moderate family problems before age 11, they found that the children had a smaller cerebrum (the part of your brain responsible for determining intelligence, personality and motor skills). A smaller cerebrum increases the risk of psychiatric problems later in life, according to the researchers.

“These findings are important because exposure to adversities in childhood and adolescence is the biggest risk factor for later psychiatric disease,” says Dr Nicholas Walsh, according to a Daily Mail article. The study team scanned the brains of 58 people between the ages of 17 and 19 more info. The research was published in the journal – Neuroimage.

In a separate study, scientists found that when children experience long lasting or intense stress (constant fighting, divorce, death), it weakens their immune system. This makes it easier for them to get sick. This according to a study published in the Journal of Immunology.

The Swedish researchers identified families who were experiencing highly stressful situations. After testing the children from the families, they found them to have higher levels of cortisol (a hormone linked to stress).

The scientists believe this indicated that there immune system is weaker and will now conduct further research to see how high levels of stress affects the body.

– Compiled by Leigh Schaller
@LeighSchaller