Today.MSNBC.MSN.com covered a study published last May 12, 2010 by the University of Wisconsin which proved that a mom's voice is indeed strong medicine. The study was conducted on 61 girls ranging from ages 7 to 12. They were first made to do a presentation and then solve a math problem. Both activities were assumed to bring up the girls' stress levels. The experiment was done in between these two activities. After the first activity, their hormone levels for cortisol and oxytocin were measured. Cortisol is related to stress while oxytocin, known as the "love hormone," is related to feelings of being calm, relaxed and secure. One group of girls were brought to their mothers after their presentation so that they could be physically comforted. Another group of girls got to be on the phone with their mothers while a last control group of girls were made to watch the heartwarming movie, March of the Penguins.
In the past, oxytocin was known to be related only to physical bonding. It is well known that breastfeeding induces the production of this hormone for both a mother and a baby. However, the results of the experiment surprised the researchers: the oxytocin levels of the girls who were with their moms physically and the girls who talked to their moms on the phone were identical. Thus, this goes to show that even keeping in touch over the phone was enough reassurance for the children.
Good News for Working Moms and OFW Moms
What are the implications of this study? Working moms and OFW moms separated from the kids because of financial circumstances will be overjoyed to know that their voice is powerful enough to calm down and reassure their kids. Of course, nothing will take the place of physical presence. However, the fact that a mother's voice has the potential to be strong medicine for their kids will help families overcome their physical separation. The researchers however, caution against drawing general conclusions. The relationship between mother and child should first be well established. A strained relationship between mother and child will, of course, not yield positive results. This was the reason that they chose pre-adolescents for the study: they are still within the age that they are close to their parents.
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