-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- A person's temperament in
childhood and the type of parenting they received have a major
effect on their political beliefs, according to a new study.
Researchers looked at data from more than 700 children who took
part in an earlier study from the U.S. National Institute on Child
Health and Human Development.
As part of that study, children's parents provided information
about their parenting style, such as authoritarian (children should
always obey their parents) or egalitarian (children should be
allowed to disagree with their parents).
The researchers found that children with authoritarian parents
were more likely to have conservative political beliefs when they
were 18, while those with egalitarian parents were more likely to
have liberal beliefs.
The findings held true even after the researchers accounted for
factors such as gender, ethnic background and socioeconomic status,
according to the study, which was published online this month in
The findings are consistent with theories from political
psychology, said R. Chris Fraley, a psychological scientist at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and colleagues.
As for temperament, children who were more fearful when they
were between 4 and 5 were more likely to be conservative at age 18,
while those who were more active and able to focus their attention
were more likely to be liberal at age 18, according to a journal
"Our research suggests that variation in how people feel about diverse topics, [including] abortion, military spending and the death penalty, can be traced to both temperamental differences that are observable as early as 54 months of age, as well as variation in the attitudes people's parents have about child rearing and discipline," Fraley wrote.
The Nemours Foundation offers
tips for effective parenting.
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