Researcher examines the duration of breastfeeding and childhood behavior problems

01.27.17

Criminal Justice Assistant Professor Dr. Dylan Jackson examines how the role of genetic risk and duration of breastfeeding interact to predict childhood behavior problems.

A long line of research has identified a number of factors that heighten the risk of conduct problems in children, including low socioeconomic status, inadequate parenting, and low birth weight. Short duration of breastfeeding has increasingly been considered as a factor in predicting childhood behavior issues.  However, others suggested that the findings are inconsistent with predicting impulsive behaviors in children.  Little attention has been given to whether the influence of breastfeeding on childhood conduct problems is different for individuals with varying degrees of genetic risk.  Jackson employed a study to examine a subsample of twins from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study: Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), a nationally representative sample of American children.  His findings suggest that a shorter duration of breastfeeding only enhances the risk of offspring conduct problems among children who possess high levels of genetic risk.  For more information, refer to his article published Oct. 2016 in the Journal of Social Science & Medicine.