Genetic and Environmental Associations Between Child Personality and Parenting

  • Mona Ayoub (Creator)
  • Daniel A. Briley (Creator)
  • Andrew D. Grotzinger (Creator)
  • Megan W. Patterson (Creator)
  • Laura E. Engelhardt (Creator)
  • Jennifer Tackett (Creator)
  • K. Paige Harden (Contributor)
  • Elliot M. Tucker-Drob (Creator)



Parenting is often conceptualized in terms of its effects on offspring. However, children may also play an active role in influencing the parenting they receive. Simple correlations between parenting and child outcomes may be due to parent-to-child causation, child-to-parent causation, or some combination of the two. We use a multirater, genetically informative, large sample (n = 1,411 twin sets) to gain traction on this issue as it relates to parental warmth and stress in the context of child Big Five personality. Considerable variance in parental warmth (27%) and stress (45%) was attributable to child genetic influences on parenting. Incorporating child Big Five personality into the model roughly explained half of this variance. This result is consistent with the hypothesis that parents mold their parenting in response to their child’s personality. Residual heritability of parenting is likely due to child characteristics beyond the Big Five.
Date made available2018

Cite this