Retrospective reports of parental physical affection and parenting style: a study of Finnish twins

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Harlaar N, Santtila P, Björklund J, Alanko K, Jern P, Varjonen M, von der Pahlen B, Sandnabba K
Publication year: 2008
Journal: Journal of Family Psychology
Journal acronym: J Fam Psychol
Volume number: 22
Issue number: 4
Start page: 605
End page: 613
ISSN: 0893-3200


Individual differences in parenting behaviors are due, in part, to genetic factors. In the present study, the authors sought to determine whether the degree of genetic influence varied according to the type of parental behavior under consideration. A population-based sample of 2,334 pairs of Finnish twins provided ratings on the physical affection, control, abusiveness, and indifference shown by their father and mother during childhood. Genetic influences, shared environmental influences, and nonshared environmental influences accounted for a small-to-medium proportion (17%-30%), a small-to-large proportion (22%-44%), and a medium-to-large proportion (37%-55%) of the variance in each parenting measure, respectively. There were no significant differences in effect sizes for mothers and fathers or across the 4 types of parental behavior. The genetic results may reflect characteristic styles with which parents respond to genetically influenced behaviors of individuals (gene-environment correlations) or individual perceptions of this relationship (gene-person correlation processes). The findings have implications for intervention and prevention work with families and for interpretation of evidence for interactions between genes and parenting behaviors.

Last updated on 2019-13-11 at 05:50