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Ryan Reynolds’ children, who have moments of anxiety like their dad. But can anxiety be “inherited”?

Colleagues on the set of the new film Deadpool & Wolverinegreat friends in everyday life, the actors Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman talked about anxiety and parenting in front of the magazine’s cameras People. Reynolds, who has been married to the actress since 2012 Blake Livelywith whom he had four children, said he was grateful to anxiety who lived in the past and continues to experiment, because thanks to these experiences todayI know how to be close to my children in moments when they themselves fall into anxious states. Addressing Hugh Jackman and reflecting on his children, Ryan Reynolds commented: «I think it’s a genetic issue. My anxiety allows me to be understanding, to make them feel seen and understood when they experience states of anxiety. I know I can’t heal their anxiety, but I can communicate with them».

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But can anxiety be inherited?

Ryan Reynols implies that there is a greater likelihood of suffering from anxiety if the parents also suffered from it. Is the genetic origin of this condition real? We asked the Dr. Elisa Stefanati, EMDR psychotherapist at Quisisana Private Hospital of Ferrara. «The causes of generalized anxiety have not been identified with certaintybut many authoritative studies tend to highlight a multifactorial etiology, which presupposes both genetic, biological and environmental causes. Anxiety can have psychological causes, for example the presence of an early trauma experienced at a young age and never resolved or an internal conflict. Research carried out on twins has highlighted that the familiarity rate of generalized anxiety disorder is around 20%. So yes, there is also a genetic variable, which increases the risk of developing this type of disorder.

Not many years ago, however, a work published onAmerican Journal of Psychiatry highlighted that, although genetic inheritance contributes to predisposing the individual in terms of vulnerability to the symptoms of anxiety, the weight of environmental factors seems to be more significant. Much research has explored which environmental factors are predominantly involved in the intergenerational transmission of anxiety and among these the most studied areparent-child attachment, family functioning and structure, parent’s educational and behavioral style and, finally, parental beliefs and attributions.”

Thinking about the case of Ryan Reynolds, that is, a father who recognizes that he suffers from anxiety, here are some useful considerations from Dr. Stefanati: «If a parent is aware of having an anxiety disorder and has started a suitable psychotherapy coursethis work will certainly also be useful in his relationship with his children. The attachment style between parents and children it is one of the variables most studied by psychologists and psychiatrists: it is now certain that an insecure bond in parents and children is predominantly associated with childhood anxiety. As a good rule of thumb, it’s always good avoid showing a judgmental, devaluing, humiliating or repressive attitude towards your children, also preserving the quality of the couple relationship between parents, in particular the ability to support each other. These variables, in fact, are a directly influence the quality of the relationship that each parent establishes with their child and which has repercussions on the child in terms of a greater sense of security acquired. This sense of security constitutes one of the main protective factors for the development of future psychopathologies in children, including anxiety.”

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Source: Vanity Fair

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