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Bond With Dad May Play Role in Whether Men 'Stress Out'
Date:8/13/2010

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- How a man handles everyday stressors like traffic jams and work deadlines may depend, in part, on how he felt about his dad while growing up, new research suggests.

"The message is that father-son relationships are incredibly powerful. When they're healthy, it's hugely protective for boys," said study lead author Melanie Mallers, an assistant professor at California State University at Fullerton.

In the study, Mallers and colleagues surveyed 912 adult men and women -- aged 25 to 74 -- by phone about their stress levels over eight days. They also asked how the participants got along with their parents as children.

Previous research has shown that lack of affection from mothers has a "profound impact" on kids, Mallers said. But research into fathers has been lacking, so the study authors explored their role too.

They found that people were more likely to report good relationships with their mothers than with their fathers. Sons were more likely than daughters to say that they got along with their mothers.

"Moms were very important to both men and women -- their sons and daughters -- in terms of general mood," Mallers said. "Both men and women who had poor relationships with their moms in childhood were more likely to be in a bad mood."

But what about dads? The team found that men who reported poorer relationships with their fathers were 4 percent more likely than other men to report encountering stress during the day. They were also more likely, by an undetermined amount, to develop a bad mood or health problems after encountering daily stress.

The difference may sound small, "but it's enough to really affect your quality of life," according to Mallers.

The study findings were to be presented Thursday at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association in San Diego.

Men who tended to re
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