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The Intergenerational Transmission of Parenting: Introduction to the Special Section



Long-standing interest in the intergenerational transmission of parenting has stimulated work focused on child maltreatment, harsh parenting, and warm-supportive rearing. In addition to documenting significant, even if modest, continuity in parenting across generations, research in this area has addressed questions of mediation and moderation. This special section extends work in this general area, with 2 studies further chronicling intergenerational transmission and 3 further illuminating mechanisms through which parenting in 1 generation is repeated in a subsequent generation. Lacking, however, is high-quality work highlighting the conditions under which parenting is not transmitted across generations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved).
The Intergenerational Transmission of Parenting:
Introduction to the Special Section
Jay Belsky
Birkbeck University of London
Rand Conger
University of California, Davis
Deborah M. Capaldi
Oregon Social Learning Center
Long-standing interest in the intergenerational transmission of parenting has stimulated work focused on
child maltreatment, harsh parenting, and warm–supportive rearing. In addition to documenting signifi-
cant, even if modest, continuity in parenting across generations, research in this area has addressed
questions of mediation and moderation. This special section extends work in this general area, with 2
studies further chronicling intergenerational transmission and 3 further illuminating mechanisms through
which parenting in 1 generation is repeated in a subsequent generation. Lacking, however, is high-quality
work highlighting the conditions under which parenting is not transmitted across generations.
Keywords: parenting, intergenerational transmission, continuity, discontinuity
Why do parents parent the way they do? That is a question that
has long interested developmentalists (Belsky, 1984), especially
those studying parenting and parent– child relationships, as well as
service providers seeking to prevent or remediate problematic
parenting or to promote growth-facilitating child rearing. One
long-standing hypothesis is that the nature and quality of parenting
are intergenerationally transmitted, with parents in one generation
parenting in a manner similar to that which they themselves
experienced while growing up (Serbin & Karp, 2003). Indeed,
various theoretical perspectives embrace this proposition, includ-
ing life-course (Elder, 1981), attachment (Bowlby, 1969), and
social-learning (Bandura, 1977; Patterson, 1998) theories, even if
they differ in terms of mechanisms presumed to account for the
intergenerational transmission process.
As the articles in this special section make clear, there is no
shortage of evidence that parenting is indeed transmitted across
generations. Perhaps the earliest and best known is that pertaining
to child maltreatment (Belsky, 1978, 1980; Cicchetti & Rizley,
1981). Clinicians dealing with and scientists studying abusive and
neglectful parents have long contended that persons who seriously
mistreat their offspring were themselves seriously mistreated as
children (Spinetta & Rigler, 1972). Yet it is widely acknowledged
that much of the database seeming to substantiate this claim is
severely limited because of its retrospective nature. And this is
because reports by adults of how they were treated in their families
of origin are prone to memory errors of omission (i.e., not remem-
bering) and commission (i.e., falsely remembering), as well as to
distortion based on current life circumstances (e.g., Belsky, 1980,
1993; Kaufman & Zigler, 1989; van Ijzendoorn, 1992). One re-
view addressing just this issue of the validity of adult retrospective
reports of adverse childhood experiences concluded that “little
weight can be placed on the retrospective reports of details of early
experiences or on reports of experiences that rely heavily on
judgment or interpretation” (Hardt & Rutter, 2004, p. 260).
As it turns out, evidence that harsh parenting or high levels of
family discord are intergenerationally transmitted also emerges
from investigations that do not rely upon retrospective reports of
child rearing and family relations while growing up. Some of the
earliest such evidence emerged from the longitudinal follow-up of
English girls who had been institutionally reared as children due to
high levels of conflict and dysfunction in their families of origin
(Dowdney, Skuse, Rutter, Quinton, & Mrazek, 1985; Quinton &
Rutter, 1984; Quinton, Rutter, & Liddle, 1984). When compared
with family-reared individuals from the same neighborhoods in
which they grew up, the women with institutional-rearing histories
were much more likely to show insensitivity to their 2- to 4-year-
old children and were more prone to exhibit irritability and to more
frequently use spanking as a disciplinary practice. Other early
work that prospectively examined the intergenerational transmis-
sion process was carried out by Caspi and Elder (1988), who found
that angry, aggressive, and hostile parenting experienced by
women growing up during the Great Depression predicted their
own angry and hostile parenting 30 years later. Huesmann, Eron,
Lefkowitz, and Walder (1984) similarly reported that parental
aggression toward the child predicted the child’s own aggressive
parenting 2 decades later.
More recently, Oregon Youth Study investigators studying boys
growing up in the highest crime-rate areas of a medium-sized city
from age 9 followed them up approximately 12 years later, at
Jay Belsky, Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social
Issues, Birkbeck University of London, London, United Kingdom; Rand
Conger, Family Research Group and Department of Human and Commu-
nity Development, University of California, Davis; Deborah M. Capaldi,
Oregon Social Learning Center, Eugene, Oregon.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jay
Belsky, Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues,
Birkbeck University of London, 7 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3RA,
United Kingdom. E-mail:
Developmental Psychology © 2009 American Psychological Association
2009, Vol. 45, No. 5, 1201–1204 0012-1649/09/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0016245
which time some of them had children of their own. The more
these fathers, as boys, had experienced poor parental supervision
and harsh discipline, the more they provided their toddlers with
harsh, inconsistent discipline (Capaldi, Pears, Patterson, & Owen,
2003). Conger, Nellpl, Kim, and Scaramella (2003) obtained sim-
ilar results for angry and aggressive parenting behavior for a
subsample of rural Iowan adolescents followed up 5–7 years later,
when some of them had become parents.
Several recent prospective studies further indicate that it is not
just angry–aggressive– hostile parenting that seems to be intergen-
erationally transmitted. Chen and Kaplan (2001) observed that in
a large, random sample of 13-year-old Houston schoolchildren
who were followed up in their 30s, the experience of good par-
enting in early adolescence, defined in terms of consistent disci-
pline and parental acceptance, predicted the provision of construc-
tive parenting in adulthood (i.e., monitoring, communication,
involvement, positive affection, inductive discipline). Similar re-
sults emerged in a study of adolescent girls (age 13–18) growing
up in Rochester, New York, whose parenting was studied when
they were 20 –22 years old (Thornberry, Freeman-Gallant, Lizotte,
Krohn, & Smith, 2003). More recently, Belsky, Jaffee, Sligo,
Woodward, and Silva (2005) observed the parenting of New
Zealand women followed since age 3 as they interacted with their
own 3-year-olds. These mothers were more likely to behave in a
warm, sensitive, stimulating manner if, during early childhood,
their own mothers did not hold authoritarian child-rearing attitudes
(i.e., undue emphasis on obedience, strict discipline, and unyield-
ing edicts as to how the child was to behave); if, during the
middle-childhood years, the emotional climate of the family was
marked by cohesion, positive expressiveness, and low levels of
conflict (i.e., positive family climate); and/or if, during the early
adolescent years, they experienced a trusting, openly communica-
tive, and nonalienated relationship (i.e., positive attachment) with
their parents.
No matter the extent of evidence chronicling intergenerational
transmission, it remains indisputable that the parenting experi-
enced in one generation is by no means inevitably repeated in the
next. Indeed, Kaufman and Zigler (1987) estimated the actual rate
of intergenerational transmission of child maltreatment to be only
30% (plus or minus 5%), given a range in rates between 7% (Gil,
1971) and 70% (Egeland, Jacobvitz, & Papatola, 1984) chronicled
at the time in the literature. There are certainly grounds for
questioning these estimates (Belsky & Jaffee, 2006), however, as
they are based on the parenting of only a single very young child.
Thus, the work that Kaufman and Zigler (1987) and others (e.g.,
Oliver, 1993) based their estimates upon (e.g., Egeland et al.,
1984; Hunter & Kilstrom, 1979) could not take into account any
mistreatment of the target child at an older age or the mistreatment
of siblings of the child.
All this is not to say that there is anything close to a one-to-one
correspondence between parenting in adjacent generations. In the
aforementioned study by Belsky et al. (2005), for example, mea-
sures of parenting, parent– child relationships, and family climate
obtained in early childhood, middle childhood, and early adoles-
cence accounted for only 15% of mothers and 3% of fathers
observed parenting, once effects of child behavior were taken into
account. Somewhat similarly, Conger et al. (2003) found that
14%–16% of the variance in self-reported and observed parenting
was accounted for by parenting experienced during adolescence.
Men and women did not differ, however, in the extent to which
intergenerational transmission processes appeared to shape their
parenting. Finally, Capaldi et al. (2003) reported that the poor
parenting of mothers and fathers accounted for 14% of the vari-
ance in the poor parenting provided by their sons as young fathers.
Mediating and Moderating Mechanisms
These observations raise the most interesting questions that are
the central focus of this special section: Why do some parents
repeat the parenting they experienced while growing up, whereas
others do not? And what factors and processes account for both
continuity and discontinuity with regard to the intergenerational
transmission of parenting? Indeed, is it possible to elucidate the
psychological, behavioral, and/or social processes that mediate or
moderate predicted continuities across generations, thereby ac-
counting for the uncoupling of and thus “lawful discontinuity” in
generational forces? The latter term refers to the ability to predict
and explain why usual expectations do not obtain (Belsky, Fish, &
Isabella, 1991) and, in the current case, why parenting in one
generation does not predict parenting in another.
It should be appreciated that some considerable progress has
already been made with regard to mediating and moderating mech-
anisms vis-a`-vis the intergenerational transmission of parenting.
With regard to mediation, Caspi and Elder (1988) found in their
aforementioned work that cross-generational linkages in hostile
parenting were a result of second-generation parents’ unstable,
undercontrolled personalities and conflicted marriages. These find-
ings are consistent with Capaldi et al.’s (2003) evidence that it was
via men’s own antisocial behavior that poor parenting experienced
in childhood came to predict the administration of poor and harsh
discipline when the men themselves were parents. Adding to these
mediational findings is Chen and Kaplan’s (2001) work showing
that in the case of supportive parenting, intergenerational trans-
mission proved to operate via positive relations with friends and
Turning to moderation, Egeland et al. (1984) discovered that it
was supportive relationship experiences that were responsible for
“breaking the cycle” of child maltreatment across generations.
Those mistreated children who did not mistreat their own offspring
had experienced supportive close relationships somewhere along
their life-course journey, some with a therapist, others with a
romantic partner, including a spouse. Such evidence was inter-
preted through the lens of attachment theory, with the inference
being that a kind of corrective emotional experience had enabled
the individual to revise the internal working model of self and
other and it was this experience that was responsible for a history
of maltreatment not being repeated in a subsequent generation.
Quinton and Rutter (1984; Quinton et al., 1984) called attention
to relationship factors as well when it came to accounting for why
some girls who had grown up in residential institutions due to their
experience in dysfunctional families parented so much better than
their own parents, whereas others did not. In particular, a good
relationship with a partner, based as it was on a seemingly thought-
ful and well-planned selection of a mate, appeared to make the
difference. And this, the research showed, itself seemed to be a
function of girls’ experience in school. In particular, girls with
positive, self-efficacy-inducing experiences, relative to those with-
out such experiences, proved more planful in their mate selection,
and this led to better parenting. At least one research team ques-
tioned the schooling explanation: Belsky, Youngblade, and Pensky
(1990) wondered whether relative physical attractiveness might
have played an important role in determining which of the girls
ended up in well versus poorly functioning intimate relationships,
thus breaking the intergenerational cycle, and reported some evi-
dence to this effect.
Five New Studies
The series of articles presented in this special section extends
work on the intergenerational transmission of parenting in two,
but, disappointingly, not three, ways. To begin with, the first two
studies provide new evidence of parenting in one generation being
repeated in the second generation, though without addressing
meditational mechanisms or moderating factors. Kovan, Chung,
and Sroufe (2009) used parenting experienced—and observed—at
24 months to predict (observed) parenting provided to own toddler
at the same age. After controlling for later parenting and other
background factors, these investigators found not insubstantial
intergenerational transmission in the high-risk Minnesota sample
that could not be accounted for by stability of life stress or even IQ
across generations. Having studied a sample drawn from high-risk
Seattle neigborhoods, Bailey, Hill, Oesterle, Hawkins, and the
Social Development Research Group (2009) reported that both
monitoring and harsh discipline experienced around 13.5 years of
age predicted the same kind of parenting some 14 years later when
children were adults rearing 9-year-olds. They also reported that
intergenerational continuity in harsh discipline accounted for some
of the transmission of externalizing problems across generations.
The next three articles included in this special section also
provide evidence of the intergenerational transmission of parenting
but move beyond its documentation to illuminate mediation,
though not moderation. Indeed, this lacuna was the disappointment
mentioned earlier: Even though the call for papers for this special
issue specifically highlighted the desire to publish work on mod-
eration (i.e., the conditions under which transmission does and
does not transpire), no papers addressing that important develop-
mental issue were submitted or were judged of sufficient quality
for inclusion here. Clearly, more work is needed in this area.
Shaffer, Burt, Obradovı´c, Herbers, and Masten (2009) studied a
normative sample beginning when children were 10 years old and
then as parents some 2 decades later. They observed not only that
parenting quality was intergenerationally transmitted but that this
process could be at least partially accounted for by the social
competence that the children manifested in young adulthood (be-
fore parenting was measured); this proved so even after they
discounted childhood social competence. Moreover, this medita-
tional mechanism proved invariant across gender and ethnic mi-
nority status.
Neppl, Conger, Scaramella, and Ontai (2009) reported that the
harsh and positive parenting that rural Iowan adolescents experi-
enced predicted, respectively, the harsh and positive parenting
provided to their own preschool children. Of special note is the
discovery that although externalizing problems mediate the inter-
generational transmission of harsh parenting, it is academic attain-
ment that mediates the cross-generational linkage of positive par-
enting. It should be noted that these intergenerational processes
could not be attributed to child effects on parenting.
Finally, Kerr, Capaldi, Pears, and Owen (2009) focused on
fathers who grew up in a high-risk neighborhood in a moderate-
sized city in Oregon. Evidence indicated not only that constructive
parenting experienced when these fathers were 9 –12 years of age
forecast constructive parenting practiced during their own off-
spring’s early and middle-childhood years but that this intergen-
erational transmission was mediated by the father’s positive ad-
justment during adolescence and eventually exerted a long-term
influence on the children’s problem behavior.
Collectively, it is indisputable that the articles selected for this
special section advance understanding of the intergenerational
transmission of parenting, especially of some of the meditational
pathways involved. This is not to say, of course, that little remains
to be discovered or that the work presented here is not without its
limits. Perhaps most noteworthy with regard to the former is, as
already noted, the need for more work addressing factors that
moderate the intergenerational transmission process, thereby illu-
minating “lawful discontinuity,” or when and why parenting ex-
perienced in one generation is not repeated in the next. But given
the fact that none of the studies presented in this special section or
even cited in this introductory essay were positioned to discount
genetic explanations, the need for future work investigating ge-
netic mediation must be highlighted. Such research seems impor-
tant, given evidence that parenting is heritable (e.g., Plomin, Reiss,
Hetherington, & Howe, 1994), which is not to say that it is entirely
transmitted across generations via genetic means. There will be
more to say on this and other issues raised— or not raised—in the
studies reported in our concluding commentary (Conger, Capaldi,
& Belsky, 2009).
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Received March 21, 2009
Revision received March 30, 2009
Accepted April 13, 2009
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... Consistent with these theoretical perspectives, researchers have found a strong association between harsh and aggressive parenting between generations [15,[29][30][31]. While much of the literature focuses on transmitting negative parenting behaviors, positive parenting experiences have also been transmitted intergenerationally [11,12,14]. In a longitudinal study, Chen and Kaplan [32] found that adolescents' consistent discipline and parental acceptance predicted more positive parenting toward their children (i.e., communication, involvement, and positive affection). ...
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... Comparatively, only 7.1% of the possible heterotypical forms emerged as significant. Theoretical perspectives, such as social learning [33], life-course [34], and attachment [35] theories, postulate that parents reproduce the parenting models they were exposed to with their own children, or may be more accepting of the use of similar practices from their co-parent [36]. Accordingly, this would naturally lead to greater odds of homotypical than heterotypical forms of continuity of intergenerational CM. ...
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Child maltreatment (CM) in one generation can predict CM in the next generation, a concept known as intergenerational continuity. Yet, the form taken by the intergenerational continuity of CM remains unclear and fathers are mostly absent from this literature. This longitudinal study aimed to document patterns of intergenerational continuity of substantiated CM, on the maternal and paternal sides, by examining the presence of: homotypical CM, which is the same type of CM in both generations; and heterotypical CM, which is different CM types in both generations. The study included all children substantiated for CM with the Centre Jeunesse de Montréal between 1 January 2003, and 31 December 2020, with at least one parent who was also reported to that agency during their childhood (n = 5861 children). The cohort was extracted using clinical administrative data, and logistic regression models were tested with the children’s CM types as the dependent variables. Homotypical continuity was found for: (1) physical abuse on the paternal side; (2) sexual abuse on the maternal side; and (3) exposure to domestic violence on the maternal side. Heterotypical continuity was also prevalent, but to a lesser extent. Interventions helping maltreated parents overcome their traumatic past are essential to foster intergenerational resilience.
... The intergenerational transmission of traits, including educational attainment, has been the focus of an extraordinary amount of research across many fields [23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31]. Kong and colleagues (2018) found evidence of indirect genetic effects in an Icelandic study from deCODE [5]. ...
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The intergenerational transmission of educational attainment from parents to their children is one of the most important and studied relationships in social science. Longitudinal studies have found strong associations between parents' and their children's educational outcomes, which could be due to the effects of parents. Here we provide new evidence about whether parents' educational attainment affects their parenting behaviours and children's early educational outcomes using within-family Mendelian randomization and data from 40,907 genotyped parent-child trios from the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort (MoBa) study. We found evidence suggesting that parents' educational attainment affects their children's educational outcomes from age 5 to 14. More studies are needed to provide more samples of parent-child trios and assess the potential consequences of selection bias and grandparental effects.
Parent feeding styles, behaviors, beliefs, and practices are associated with developing children's eating behaviors. However, many children spend considerable time in childcare; thus, are exposed to child-feeding practices of other adults, e.g., early care and education (ECE) staff. Limited research exists on how and whether current classroom feeding practices of ECE staff associate with their own childhood experiences. The About Feeding Children survey, conducted in 2005, examined self-reported feeding practices and beliefs and personal characteristics of ECE staff in Western United States. An exploratory factor analysis of questions related to childhood experiences (N = 1189), revealed two Mealtime Factors: Remembered Adult Control and Remembered Child Autonomy Support. Structural equation modeling was conducted to examine the hypothesis that these remembered experiences would be associated with current feeding practices (Structural Mealtime Strategies, Verbal Mealtime Strategies, and Beliefs about Mealtimes). For each outcome, models had good to moderate fit. Across models, Remembered Autonomy Support was associated with less control, bribing, autonomy undermining, and concern-based control beliefs and greater support at meals and autonomy promoting beliefs in teachers' classroom feeding practices. More research is called for to consider whether reflection on remembered childhood experiences might be beneficial to consider during ECE staff training related to feeding young children.
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In psychology, attention to the study of human well-being has increased. The question is how psychological well-being transmitted from mother to daughter, if it is. Aim: to study the relation between the psychological well-being and parental attitudes of mothers with the psychological well-being of adult daughters. Hypothesis: psychological well-being is transmitted from mother to daughter both directly and through the mother’s parental attitudes, with the specificity in periods of adulthood. The sample of 111 dyad mother — daughters from Russia included two groups. The first group consisted of daughters 20–25 years (M=22) and mothers 39–50 years (M=45), the second — daughters 26–40 years (M=33) and mothers 51– 65 years (M=56). Methods: Psychological Well-being Scale (Ryff), Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener), Fordyce Emotions Questionnaire, Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale, Parental Attitude Research Instrument (Schaefer, Bell). Correlation and factor analysis was conducted. Results: in general, the psychological well-being is transmitted from mother to adult daughter directly and through the mother’s parental attitudes towards equality, independence, and acceptance. However, the mother with high components of “life goal” and “positive relationships with others” has a more pronounced authoritarian control over the early-adult daughter. In daughters, this leads to a decrease of the psychological well-being, but to an increase in happiness. The psychological well-being of middle-adult daughter is correlated with that of the mother, both directly and through the mother’s attitudes towards acceptance and independence. The high psychological well-being of the late-adult mother serves as a buffer when faced with her daughter’s separation, allowing finding new aspirations.
The findings of the 8 empirical articles in this special section make a convincing case for cross-generation continuities. It is proposed that parenting practices may serve as a mechanism that accounts for these stabilities. Both biological and social interactional variables are examined as potential explanations for how this effect might come about. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
This important new volume provides a comprehensive account of the causes and consequences of child maltreatment from a developmental perspective. The chapters in the volume offer an historical and definitional context for future studies: What constitutes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse? What is child neglect and how has its definition changed over time? Why has the theory of the intergenerational transmission of maltreatment been overstated for so long? The heart of the volume lies in its careful description of well controlled research on the impact of maltreatment on the developmental process. Specific chapters address the effects of maltreatment on congitive, linguistic, social, and emotional development. Special attention is paid to age-specific deficits in social interaction, to parent-child interaction and attachment in the early years, and to peer relationships during later childhood and adolescence. The psychology of abusive and neglecting parents is also addressed. Who are the maltreating parents and how are they different from comparison parents? What are the conditions under which maltreatment recurs in subsequent generations? The volume concludes with a chapter on the processes at work in maltreatment can be applied to reducing the problem. Child Maltreatment will appeal to both researchers and clinicians in a range of disciplines including developmental and clinical psychology, psychiatry, social work, pediatrics, sociology, and law, as well as to policymakers and students in all of these areas.
This review describes a recent approach to studying the intergenerational processes that place families and children at risk for a broad variety of social, behavioral, and health problems. Intergenerational studies typically involve two (or more) generations of participants, observed over time. These projects are utilized to study the origins and early determinants of parenting behavior and of other environmental, health, and social conditions that place young offspring at risk for continuing behavioral, cognitive, and health problems. Convergent findings, across a broad range of research populations in several countries, suggest that problematic parenting develops in part through learning the behavior modeled by one's own parents. In addition, problematic parenting seems to be an extension of an individual's early style of aggressive and problematic social behavior. Parents with a history of childhood aggression, in particular, tend to have continuing social, behavioral, and health difficulties, as do their offspring. Conversely, parental involvement, cognitive stimulation, warmth, and nurturance appear to have important protective effects for offspring. Finally, educational achievement appears to be a powerful buffer against problematic parenting and a wide variety of difficult family circumstances, protecting families against the transfer of risk between generations.
In a study spanning 22 years, data were collected on the aggressiveness of over 600 subjects, their parents, and their children. Subjects who were the more aggressive 8-year-olds at the beginning of the study were discovered to be the more aggressive 30-year-olds at the end of the study. The stability of aggressive behavior was shown to be very similar to the stability of intellectual competence, especially for males. Early aggressiveness was predictive of later serious antisocial behavior, including criminal behavior, spouse abuse, traffic violations, and self-reported physical aggression. Furthermore, the stability of aggression across generations within a family when measured at comparable ages was even higher than the within individual stability across ages. It is concluded that, whatever its causes, aggression can be viewed as a persistent trait that may be influenced by situational variables but possesses substantial cross-situational constancy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Research suggests that measures of the family environment show genetic effects when treated as phenotypes in behavioral genetic analyses. This issue was explored as part of the Nonshared Environment in Adolescent Development project using diverse questionnaire measures of parent–child and sibling interactions. The sample consisted of 707 pairs of siblings (aged 10–18 yrs) in a novel design (identical and fraternal twins and full siblings in nondivorced families, and full, half, and unrelated siblings in stepfamilies). Model-fitting analyses yielded evidence for significant genetic effects for 15 of 18 composite measures. On average, more than a quarter of the variance of these environmental measures can be accounted for by genetic differences among children. These results underline the need to investigate the reactive and active organism–environment transactional processes by which genotypes become phenotypes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
This study was based on the premise that much of the instability evident in research on infant emotionality/temperament is a function not so much of measurement error (as typically presumed) but lawful discontinuity. Infants who changed from high to low and from low to high levels of negative or positive emotionality between 3 and 9 mo of age were compared with infants who remained stable during the period on distal measures of the family environment (prenatally and neonatally measured) and proximal measures of parent–infant interaction (3 mo) thought to account for stability and change in infant emotionality and on 1-yr infant–mother attachment security. Results reveal more success in forecasting stability and change in negative emotionality than positive emotionality; maternal personality and marital factors and mother–infant interaction accounted for why infants highly negative at 3 mo changed, and comparable father factors and processes accounted for why infants initially low in negativity changed. Attachment-related analyses revealed change in positive emotionality to be more related to 1-yr security than change in negative emotionality, but it was also the case that continuity and discontinuity in both positivity and negativity interacted to forecast attachment security. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
This chapter outlines changing models of the causes of child abuse. It underscores one of the core themes of developmental psychopathology, namely, the interrelation of normality and pathology. By focusing on parental dysfunction, the chapter points out that an understanding of the determinants of parental dysfunction can illuminate forces fostering more competent and growth-promoting parenting. The chapter considers the changing conceptions of the causes of child maltreatment. It then outlines a model of the determinants of parenting that Belsky advanced almost two decades ago but that still serves to guide much research. Belsky's model serves as the overarching framework guiding the review in the remainder of the chapter. The review focuses on work concerned with development and parenting within the normal range, as well as with psychopathology and disturbances in parenting. The chapter highlights that there is ample theoretical reason to expect that neighborhood conditions should affect parenting.