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

N Harlaar, Pekka Santtila, J Björklund, Katarina Alanko, Patrik Jern, M Varjonen, von der Pahlen B, Kenneth Sandnabba

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18 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)605–613
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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