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06-05-2017 | Original Paper | Uitgave 8/2017

Journal of Child and Family Studies 8/2017

Intergenerational Continuity in Qualities of the Parent–Child Relationship: Mediating and Moderating Mechanisms

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 8/2017
Auteurs:
Kateryna Savelieva, Laura Pulkki-Råback, Markus Jokela, Mirka Hintsanen, Päivi Merjonen, Nina Hutri-Kähönen, Markus Juonala, Jorma Viikari, Olli Raitakari, Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s10826-017-0729-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Abstract

Intergenerational continuity in parenting quality has been demonstrated but the mechanisms underlying this continuity are less understood. This study investigated whether the offspring personality and years of education mediate the continuity in qualities of the parent–child relationship and whether offspring personality moderates this association. The sample comprised 1308 Finnish offspring (G2; 62% female) and their mothers (G1). G1 (Mean age = 37.7) reported self-perceived qualities of the parent–child relationship in terms of emotional warmth and acceptance towards G2 aged 3–18 years in 1980. Thirty-two years later, once having become parents themselves, G2 (Mean age = 42.9) self-rated their own qualities of the parent–child relationship towards their children using the same scales. Between these follow-ups, G2 self-rated their personality (consisting of temperament and character traits) using the Temperament and Character Inventory and reported years of education. Results indicated that G2 character traits—Self-directedness and Cooperativeness—partially mediated the intergenerational continuity in self-perceived emotional warmth and explained 16% of this association. No mediating role of G2 temperament traits was found (all ps > .240). Character traits accounted for the indirect association better than education in a multiple mediator model. Moreover, no moderating role of either temperament or character traits was found (all ps ≥ .064). Study findings show that warm and accepting qualities of the parent–child relationship in childhood are related to offspring character traits that reflect personality maturity in adulthood, which in turn would predict their own positive parent–child relationship later in life.

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