In a breakthrough discovery, Duke University researchers recently identified a specific gene variant linked to “orchid” children who are highly sensitive to their environments and are particularly vulnerable to stress. The genetic marker is part of the glucocorticoid receptor gene NR3C1 that influences the activity of a receptor to which cortisol binds and is directly involved in the stress response.
The January 2015 study, “Can Genetics Predict Response to Complex Behavioral Interventions? Evidence from a Genetic Analysis of the Fast Track Randomized Control Trial,” was published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.
This study breaks new ground by identifying that a child’s level of sensitivity to his or her environment is somehow related to specific differences in their genomes.
The study’s lead author, Dustin Albert, is a research scientist from the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. Albert’s current research focuses on the social, genetic, and neurodevelopmental influences on adolescents’ self-regulation and decision making.
…If left untreated, 75 percent of high-risk “orchid” children with the NR3C1 gene variant went on to develop psychological problems by age 25. These maladaptive behaviors include substance abuse, aggression, and antisocial personality disorder.
Why does it need to take all of this work to prove what millennia have done for us?
The traditional parenting strategies work.
If you indulge the hyper-sensitive, they get worse, it hurts them. Don’t be cruel, but don’t enable either.
Case in point – I used to be highly sensitive as a child. If properly channeled, it can be of great benefit.