Certain parenting styles are influential in the emergence of later mental health problems, but less is known about the relationship between parenting style and later psychological well-being. Our aim was to examine the association between well-being in midlife and parental behaviour during childhood and adolescence, and the role of personality as a possible mediator of this relationship.
Data from 984 women in the 1946 British birth cohort study were analysed using structural equation modelling. Psychological well-being was assessed at age 52 years using Ryff's scales of psychological well-being. Parenting practices were recollected at age 43 years using the Parental Bonding Instrument. Extraversion and neuroticism were assessed at age 26 years using the Maudsley Personality Inventory.
In this sample, three parenting style factors were identified: care; non-engagement; control. Higher levels of parental care were associated with higher psychological well-being, while higher parental non-engagement or control were associated with lower levels of psychological well-being. The effects of care and non-engagement were largely mediated by the offspring's personality, whereas control had direct effects on psychological well-being. The psychological well-being of adult women was at least as strongly linked to the parenting style of their fathers as to that of their mothers, particularly in relation to the adverse effects of non-engagement and control.
This study used a prospective longitudinal design to examine the effects of parenting practices on psychological well-being in midlife. The effects of parenting, both positive and negative, persisted well into mid-adulthood.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.
* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 25th March 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.