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Genetic and Environmental Influences on Children's Prosocial Behavior: The Role of Parenting

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The purpose of the current study was to determine the genetic and environmental contributions to the development of prosocial behavior in children using a population of 356 twins at 8 years of age. The study also aimed to examine whether

The purpose of the current study was to determine the genetic and environmental contributions to the development of prosocial behavior in children using a population of 356 twins at 8 years of age. The study also aimed to examine whether qualities of parenting (specifically authoritarian and authoritative parenting styles) were phenotypic predictors of prosocial behavior. Both parent-reports and objective ratings of global prosocial behavior were used. Results supported prosocial behavior as a genetically-influenced trait with heritability estimates of 44% and 68% for parent reported and observed prosocial behavior, respectively. Data also suggested prosocial behavior as an environmentally-influenced trait. As hypothesized, authoritative parenting was moderately correlated with parent-reported prosocial behavior and authoritarian parenting was found to be low-to-moderately negatively correlated with parent-reported prosocial behavior. Multi-variable regressions demonstrated that authoritative parenting was significantly predictive of increased parent-reported prosocial behavior but authoritarian parenting was not predictive of decreased parent reported prosocial behavior. However, observed prosocial behaviors were largely independent of both authoritative and authoritarian styles of parenting.

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2017-12