A new study warns, overprotective parents slow their kids' brain growth in an area linked to mental illness.
According to the study, led by Kosuke Narita of Gunma University, Japan, kids whose parents are overprotective or neglectful are believed to be more susceptible to psychiatric disorders.
To reach the conclusion, Narita scanned the brains of 50 people in their 20s and asked them to fill out a survey about their relationship with their parents during their first 16 years, reports New Scientist.
In their research boffins used a survey called the Parental Bonding Instrument (pdf). It asks participants to rate their parents on statements like "Did not want me to grow up", "tried to control everything I did" and "tried to make me feel dependent on her/him".
After analysis, it was discovered that those with overprotective parents had less grey matter in a particular area of the prefrontal cortex than those who had had healthy relationships.
eglect from fathers, though not mothers, also correlated with less grey matter.
This part of the prefrontal cortex develops during childhood, and abnormalities there are common in people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.
The study has been published in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry.