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Study Shows One Really Good Reason To Stay Calm About Parenting

Raising a tiny, unpredictable human understandably comes with as much anxiety as goldfish crackers. What will they be when they grow up? Will they be happy and healthy? Is the plot of Baby Geniuses even a slight possibility? And while not worrying isn’t an option, new findings presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology’s Congress in Vienna might put your anxiety in check, mostly because it could kill you.

The study looked at 15,938 British men and women who originally participated in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer-Norfolk study. Researchers used that data to link men and women diagnosed with Generalize Anxiety Disorder to death records over 15 years following the study, in order to identify which anxiety sufferers went on to die of cancer. After controls were put in place like age, alcohol consumption, smoking, and chronic diseases, men with anxiety disorders were 2.15 times more likely to die of cancer than those without anxiety.

Despite the fact that more women suffered from anxiety — 2.4 percent compared to 1.8 percent — there was no similar association for them, perhaps confirming that your spouse is actually better at worrying (her words). As always, it’s important to distinguish correlation from causation and this study does not say that worrying about your kid’s future causes cancer. Still, the analysis suggests that anxiety may be more than a rite of passage for parents, and could signal something much more serious instead. More research needs to be done, which could make you freak out in the meantime, but try to chill just in case.

[H/T] The LA Times