Although many personality theories emphasize the role of parental behaviors in shaping personality development, empirical data from longitudinal studies remain scarce. It is also not known, if parental behaviors affect character development more strongly than temperament or vice versa. In a prospective study, 1083 volunteer participants of the Young Finns study completed the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). Parents of the participants had answered questions about parenting attitudes, socioeconomic status, health behaviors, and role satisfaction 18 years before. We studied the univariate and the cumulative effects of parental care-giving and family environment on offspring's personality traits. Parental care-giving and home-environment were more strongly associated with offspring character traits reflecting personality maturity (Self-directedness and Cooperativeness) than with offspring temperament traits (Novelty seeking, Harm avoidance, Reward dependence and Persistence) reflecting emotional and behavioral tendencies. The differences were most evident in the cumulative effects model. Maternal variables were stronger predictors than paternal variables. The present findings suggest that not all personality traits are similarly predicted by parental care-giving and home-environment. In particular, character development is more strongly related to such measures than temperament. Parental care-giving and home-environment are more strongly related to psychological maturity (character) than emotional and behavioral tendencies (temperament).
- Personality development