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Play with your kid, for their mental health's sake
Date:11/8/2010

Learning a hobby or other complex task in childhood with assistance from a trusted adult may help guard against the emergence of a personality disorder (PD) later on in life, reports a study in the current issue of the journal, Development and Psychopathology.

Spending time with a child by reading with them, helping with homework or teaching them organizational skills helps to foster better psychological health in adulthood.

"The strong interpersonal connectedness and social skills that children learn from having active, healthy engagements with adults fosters positive psychological development," said lead study author Mark F. Lenzenweger, a distinguished professor of clinical science, neuroscience and cognitive psychology at Binghamton University, State University of New York. "With it, a child develops his or her affiliation system their connection to the world of people. Without it, the way a child connects with other human beings can be severely impaired. And as I found out, it is this impairment that predicts the appearance of schizoid personality disorder symptoms in emerging adulthood and beyond."

Lenzenweger says that the real importance of his findings is that it underscores the value of actively engaging a child during their formative years which is particularly relevant in this age of day care, TV, videos, and web-based virtual reality games.

"Through a rich degree of proximal processes, or more simply put, interactions generally associated with a caring and strong interpersonal relationship, a significant adult - typically a parent but who could also be a caregiver or role model can help a child to progress to a richer, more differentiated, and fuller psychological experience," said Lenzenweger.

These relationships foster a willingness to engage with others, which is the psychological foundation of the human experience. But for some PD sufferers, this willingness to connect with other p
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Contact: Gail Glover
gglover@binghamton.edu
607-777-2174
Binghamton University
Source:Eurekalert  

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