Psychological Science 2018, (3) 608-614 DOI:     ISSN: 0412-1961 CN: 21-1139/TG

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Parenting behavior
Life history strategy
YU Yan
CHEN Bin-Bin
LI Wei-Ya
QIAN Xiao-Yun
Article by Yu,y
Article by Chen,B.B
Article by Li,W.Y
Article by Qian,X.Y

A Study on the Intergenerational Transmission of Parenting from the Perspective of Life History Theory


Quite a lot of research has been done on the topic of parenting’ s intergenerational transmission. Until now most of the literature explained the transmission with the mediating role of attachment. Though many ideas of evolution were included during the forming the attachment theory few studies has explored the intergerational transmission of parenting from an evolutionary perspective. Based on the existing literature this research explored the role of life history strategy on the intergenerational transmission of maternal parenting. With questionnaires collected from 252 mothers (Mean age =41, SD=4.39) in Central China, all of them has at least one child who was in the secondary school, this research explored how the maternal parenting style in the original family influenced the adult daughter’s co-parenting behaviors in their own family. We hypothesized that in addition to attachment style, the adult daughter’s life history strategy played an important role in the process of transmission. Two questions were mainly discussed. The first one focused on how the adult daughter’s life history strategy developed in their original family. The second question focused on the relationship between mother’s life history strategy and their co-parenting behaviors in their own family. Individual’s life history strategy, parenting style, attachment style and co-parenting were measured with Mini-K scale (Figueredo et al, 2006), PSDQ (Parenting Style and Dimensions Questionnaire, Robinson, Mandleco, Olsen & Hart, 1995), ECR (Experiences in Close Relationships Inventory, Brennan, Clark, Shaver, 1998) and Co-parenting scale (McHale, 1997) respectively. Harshness (Griskevicius & Tybur, 2013) and unpredictability (Belsky, Schlomer & Ellis, 2012) were measure with the items developed from the literature. The correlational analysis indicated the environmental harshness and unpredictability during the childhood could not predict one’s life history strategy as an adult. With the analysis of Sequential Linear Model the result showed Mother’s authoritarian parenting style in the original family could predict the adult daughter’s slow life history strategy through the mediating role of anxious attachment behaviors. Mother’s authoritative parenting style could predict daughter’s slow life history strategy directly. The fit indices were: χ2=179.60, df=79, RMSEA=0.07, IFI=0.92, CFI=0.91。 The second research result with the Sequential Linear Model indicated through the complete mediating role of the adult daughter’s slow life history strategy the maternal authoritative parenting style in childhood could predict the adult daughter’s collaborative co-parenting behaviors in her own home. The fit indices were: χ2=184.43, df=96, RMSEA=0.06, IFI=0.94, CFI=0.94. In order to eliminate the possible influence the mother’s age was set as a control variable in two of the SEM models above. In conclusion, this research supported that mother’s parenting style in the original family could predict their adult daughter’s future co-parenting behaviors. Parenting behaviors could be transmitted intergenerationally between mothers and daughters through the role of daughter’s attachment style and life history strategy. Most importantly this research pointed out that the adult daughter’s life history strategy played a key role during the process of parenting’s intergenerational transmission.

Keywords Parenting behavior   Life history strategy   ttachment   Coparenting  
Received 2017-11-09 Revised 2018-03-27 Online: 2018-05-20 
Corresponding Authors: Yan WANG
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