Etiological Influences on Perceptions of Parenting: A Longitudinal, Multi-Informant Twin Study

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Children and their parents often differ in their perception of the relationship they share. As this relationship changes developmentally, the nature of these differences may also change. Longitudinal genetic designs can be used to investigate the developmental etiologies of shared and distinct perceptions. In this study, we used longitudinal psychometric models to analyze child and parent reports of negative parenting for 6417 twin pairs from the Twins Early Development Study at ages 9, 12 and 14 years. Within-time cross-reporter correlations, indicating the degree to which children and parents perceived negative parenting behaviors similarly at each age, were moderate (r = .44 − .46). Longitudinal genetic analyses revealed these shared perceptions to be relatively stable during the transition into adolescence, with this stability driven by a combination of children’s genetic factors and family-wide environmental factors. In contrast, child- and parent-specific perceptions of parenting were predominantly age-specific, a developmental pattern underpinned by child genetic factors and a combination of family-wide and unique environmental influences. These results and their implications are discussed in the context of interplay between reciprocal interactions, subjective insight and developmental behavioral change in the parent–child relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jan 2016


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