Anatomy of Loneliness, Part 1 (Episode 120)

Loneliness by Dr. John Cacioppo
Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection“, about what happens when people feel isolated, including:

  • the importance of loneliness as a signal to our social selves
  • the physical effects that make chronic loneliness as dangerous as smoking,
  • the effects of “time out”,
  • how we can still feel lonely even with hundreds of Facebook friends.
Listen here:

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Dr. John Cacioppo

Dr. John Cacioppo

Dr. John Cacioppo is the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor at The University of Chicago, the Director of the University of Chicago Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience, and the Director of the Arete Initiative of the Office of the Vice President for Research and National Laboratories at the University of Chicago. He has won numerous awards for his work.

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Note: Posts on Family Anatomy are for education only, and are not intended to replace professional or medical advice. If you need to talk to someone about family or mental health issues, you can get a referral from your family doctor.


Third-World Adoption: Are there risk factors for Madonna’s and Angelina’s kids?

Angelina & KidsCelebrity adoption of children from third-world countries has become common enough for comedians to joke about it; in Sacha Baron Cohen’s new movie, Brüno, a toddler is adopted from Africa in exchange for an iPod! That’s not to say that most celebrities are adopting kids, but there have certainly been enough headlines in recent months that it’s hard not to think of it as a “trend.” But if it’s true that, as a Public Service Announcement a few years back said, “The years before five last the rest of their lives,” what could be expected for kids who are adopted from third-world orphanages? It’s impossible to predict how children adopted by celebrities might develop, as there is a small number of them and these adoptions only recently received media attention. Celebrities also have access to medical care and other treatment that may be unavailable to other parents!

I don’t know anything about the backgrounds of the children adopted by these celebrities, but my guess is that it’s unlikely that they would have been raised in the horrible conditions experienced by the children in post-Ceaucescu Romania. A few years ago, researchers began to examine the impact of adoption on kids from Romanian and other Eastern European orphanages. Keep in mind that these adoptees were removed from extremely difficult conditions of abuse and neglect. A new study published in the July issue of the International Journal of Behavioral Development looked at the functioning of some of these children.

Laurie Miller and her colleagues from Tufts Medical Center in Boston recruited families who had adopted children from Eastern European countries or the former Soviet Union; recruitment occurred through the International Adoption Clinic at Tufts. The children had been with their families for at least 5 years and ranged in age from 8 to 10 years. Most of the families were dual-parent homes, with an average parental age of about 41 years. In about a third of the families, the adopted child was the only child in the home, and half of the families had other, unrelated adopted children at home as well. Most of the children were adopted between the ages of 1 and 3.

Kids in Sports, Part 1: Why it Matters

This week at Family Anatomy, we have decided to post articles about kids and sports. In the first part of this series, we’ll examine why kids’ sports matter.

Most people define sport as an athletic activity that involves rules, physical skill development, and competition. Sport can certainly be seen as a pleasant distraction for fans, although for those who engage in it, it is much more. As the definition suggests, development of physical skill is one of a number of interrelated benefits that sports brings to its participants. Sport can bring you in touch with your body and its capacities and limitations. Becoming aware of your developing skills can also be a source of pride and disappointment. Mastering the skills necessary to do a particular sport well can be an important experiential reservoir for self-esteem. Sport is always a relational exercise as well. Being in competition with others involves deft and subtle interpersonal negotiations related to how people treat one another in victory and defeat. While most parents place their kids in sports simply for the fun of it, when it is closely examined, it is clearly that and much more.

Will he still love you tomorrow?

A new study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggesting a genetic link to monogamy and marital satisfaction. Researchers found that men with 2 copies of the allele responsible for the distribution of vasopressin receptors in the brain were twice as likely to report marital dysfunction and to have considered divorce than those with one or no copies of the allele. They noted that human behaviour is determined by a number of factors besides genetic expression.

You can read more here.

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