Study shows that exposure to perinatal environment, the period around childbirth especially the five months before and one month after childbirth, has a significant impact on aggression in children.
The research team led by Sylvana Cote, a professor at the Universite de Montreal Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, has found that pregnant mothers exposed to adverse conditions such as poverty, stress, malnutrition are likely to have aggressive kids.
"We know that when the mother faces adverse conditions such as poverty, stress, malnutrition, family conflicts or tobacco use during pregnancy, it will directly influence the size and weight of the fetus," said Cote.
"These conditions are also correlated to heart disease, diabetes and child obesity."
"The education practices of the parents, as well as the transmission of a genetic profile predisposing aggressive behavior are also contributors to atypical violent development," she added.
Cote also said that perinatal environment also influences DNA methylation.
The study showed that young adults who had a hyper-aggressive profile as children and teenagers have a surmethylation of the active immune system genes that regulate the nervous system.
DNA methylation is a process that aims to protect the genome from microbes. But it can be affected by eating habits, stress, tobacco use and exterior factors such as pollution and parent care.