Professor Dora Costa, Chair of UCLA’s Economics Department & Kenneth L. Sokoloff Chair in Economic History, was recently featured in The Atlantic for her paper, “Intergenerational transmission of paternal trauma among US Civil War ex-POWs.”
According to The Atlantic:
The most recent [article] is a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week by researchers from [UCLA’s Department of Economics]. They found that the sons of Union Army soldiers who endured grueling conditions as prisoners of war were more likely to die young than the sons of soldiers who were not prisoners. This is despite the fact that the sons were born after the war, so they couldn’t have experienced its horrors personally. In other words, it seemed like the stresses of war were getting passed down between generations.
“By no means is it saying that whenever there’s trauma, that means it’s going to be transmitted,” Dora Costa, the lead author of the Civil War study and an economist at UCLA, told me. “The epigenetic story is optimistic because it allows for the possibility of reversibility through maternal nutrition.”