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J Fam Psychol. 2014 Dec;28(6):973-8. doi: 10.1037/fam0000024. Epub 2014 Sep 15.

Positive parenting, beliefs about parental efficacy, and active coping: three sources of intergenerational resilience.

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Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Iowa State University.
Department of Human Ecology, University of California.


Prior research involving parents (G1) and their adult children (G2) shows intergenerational continuity in positive parenting. Previous research, however, has not shown circumstances under which the typically modest effect size for intergenerational continuity is augmented or attenuated. Using a multigenerational data set involving 290 families, we evaluated 2 potential moderators of intergenerational continuity in positive parenting (i.e., beliefs about parenting efficacy and active coping strategies) drawn from prior theoretical work on predictors of parenting (Belsky, 1984). These personal resources of the second-generation (G2) parent interacted with G1 positive parenting to predict G2 parenting behavior. Beliefs about parental efficacy and active coping both compensated for low levels of G1 positive parenting by promoting G2 positive parenting when G1 parents were comparatively low on positive parenting. An alternative interpretation of this moderation is that G1 positive parenting compensated for low levels of these personal resources by promoting G2 positive parenting when G2 parents were comparatively low on parenting efficacy and effective coping. These findings indicate the different roles that these personal resources and a history of positive parenting appear to play in promoting a positive parenting environment for the next generation of children.

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