The Intergenerational Continuity of Observed Early Parenting: A Prospective, Longitudinal Study

Nikki M. Kovan*, Alissa Levy Chung, L. Alan Sroufe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


The authors report the results from a prospective, longitudinal study of cross-generational parenting quality in a lower socioeconomic status sample of moderate ethnic diversity (N = 61). The study extends previous research on intergenerational continuity of parenting in several significant ways: (a) Assessments in both generations were based on direct observation, (b) assessments were made at the same age (24 months) in both generations, (c) there were controls for later parenting in the first generation, and (d) there were controls for critical background factors (stress, socioeconomic status, child and parent IQ). An observed parenting-quality composite showed moderate stability (r = .43) across generations, and findings held after controlling for all other factors. A possible special role for early parenting experience and the extensive research needed to demonstrate it are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1205-1213
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • early childhood
  • intergenerational continuity
  • observational measures
  • parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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