Virtuous character development in children is correlated with parenting behavior, but the role of genetic influences in this association has not been examined. Using a longitudinal twin/sibling study (N = 720; Time 1 (T1) M age = 12–14 years, Time 3 (T3) M age = 25–27 years), the current report examines associations among parental negativity/positivity and offspring responsibility during adolescence, and subsequent young adult conscientiousness. Findings indicate that associations among parental negativity and offspring virtuous character during adolescence and young adulthood are due primarily to heritable influences. In contrast, the association between concurrent parental positivity and adolescent responsibility was due primarily to heritable and shared environmental influences. These findings underscore the contributions of heritable influences to the associations between parenting and virtuous character that have previously been assumed to be only environmentally influenced, emphasizing the complexity of mechanisms involved in the development of virtuous character.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics