Our study should not be interpreted as suggesting the solution to the health risks of parenting is to avoid having children altogether. Rather, we believe the current findings signal a need for an increased attentiveness to the health risks of childrearing, particularly for parents with multiple children in the home. We hope the information provided here can inform parents and their healthcare providers of the potential health risks associated with parenting.
The present research adds to a growing base of evidence that suggests positive intimate relationships act as mechanisms that modify biological pathways associated with disease. For instance, social support, a key factor associated with one’s perception of mattering, is associated with regulation of immune function, including inflammation, which is related to a range of chronic conditions including heart disease.