Remembered parental bonding in adult twins: Genetic and environmental influences

Paul Lichtenstein, Jody Ganiban, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, Nancy L. Pedersen, Kjell Hansson, Marianne Cederblad, Olof Elthammar, David Reiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


One common assumption in psychology is the impact of parenting and parent-child relationships on the child's adjustment throughout the life span. Studies have indicated that there are genetic influences on memories of parenting, but how these influences are mediated has not typically been investigated. A sample of 150 pairs of monozygotic and 176 pairs of dizygotic Swedish twin women reported on personal characteristics and on remembered relationships with their mother and father using the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI). Quantitative genetic analyses showed moderate genetic influences for remembered parental warmth, which also was partly explained by genetic influences for optimism, aggression, and humor. The other two PBI scales, authoritarianism and protectiveness, showed only shared and nonshared environmental influences. One interpretation of the findings is that heritable personal characteristics of children elicit parental warmth. However, other explanations such as personality characteristics influencing how experiences with parents are interpreted or circumstances in adult life that affect the recall of experiences could not be ruled out.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-408
Number of pages12
JournalBehavior Genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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