This study aims to extend the literature on the continuity of parenting across two generations using prospective, longitudinal data. 61 mothers and fathers were followed for an average of 32 years and were studied at multiple time points and in multiple settings. Parent-child interactions were videotaped at 24 months of age in both generations. The goals of the study were: (1) to examine the role of first generation parenting as it influences the quality of parenting provided by the second generation, controlling for parental IQ in both generations, second generation childhood life stress, second generation childhood SES and first generation parenting during adolescence; (2) to investigate the role of contextual similarity at the time of the 24 month parenting assessment in both generations; (3) to explore the role of gender in the continuity of parenting across two generations; and (4) to examine the moderating role of second generation romantic relationship support in the continuity of parenting.
Multiple regression analyses revealed that first generation parenting quality predicted the quality of parenting provided by second generation parents, above and beyond first and second generation IQ and childhood life stress, with the exception of hostility. Second generation SES averaged across childhood and first generation parenting during adolescence were not related to second generation parenting, while second generation IQ was also significantly related to the quality of parenting provide by second generation parents. Correlation analyses indicated that life stress measured concurrently to parenting quality was not related to the quality of parenting provided in either generation, and therefore does not provide any additional explanation of the continuity of parenting. An unexpected finding was that the role of first generation parenting appeared to be important only for fathers based on bivariate correlations. Finally, none of the moderation analyses examining second generation romantic relationship support in the continuity of parenting were significant. Taken together, these findings suggest that a person's earliest experiences of parenting continue to be important and play a significant role in the quality of parenting provided to the next generation, above and beyond many of the contextual factors known to relate to parenting quality. This may be true especially for fathers, although this finding needs to be replicated given the small number of fathers examined in this study. Finally, romantic relationship support did not appear to moderate the impact of early parenting experiences.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. January 2009. Major: Child Psychology. Advisor: L. Alan Sroufe. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 73 pages, appendix: page 42 (tables), bibliographical references pages 57-73.
Kovan, Nikki M..
The continuity of parenting across two generations using a prospective, longitudinal design..
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