Boys whose par­ents ar­gue ‘grow up to be Machi­avel­lian’

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Ni­cola Har­ley

BOYS with par­ents who ar­gue grow up to have more Machi­avel­lian per­son­al­ity traits, a study has sug­gested.

Psy­chol­o­gists at Not­ting­ham Trent Univer­sity and the Univer­sity of Pécs in Hun­gary in­ves­ti­gated dif­fer­ent as­pects of par­ent­ing and ado­les­cent chil­dren’s personalities

They looked specif­i­cally at lev­els of Machi­avel­lian­ism – a per­son­al­ity trait char­ac­terised by dis­trust, cyn­i­cal views, emo­tion­ally de­tached at­ti­tudes and ma­nip­u­la­tion.

As part of the study, the re­searchers mea­sured Machi­avel­lian­ism and the teenagers’ per­cep­tion of con­flict be­tween their par­ents, as well as their guardians’ own views on the qual­ity of their co-par­ent­ing.

The re­sults, re­ported in the jour­nal Per­son­al­ity and In­di­vid­ual Dif­fer­ences, showed that boys with high lev­els of Machi­avel­lian­ism per­ceived their par­ents as ar­gu­ing more.

The per­son­al­ity trait was also re­lated to poorer qual­ity co-par­ent­ing.

Dr Loren Abell, co-re­searcher and psy­chol­o­gist in Not­ting­ham Trent Univer­sity’s School of So­cial Sci­ences, said: “Par­ents serve as role models for their chil­dren and neg­a­tive in­ter­ac­tions be­tween them may sug­gest to their chil­dren that the emo­tional wel­fare of oth­ers is not important. This is linked to the emo­tional de­tach­ment and self­serv­ing strate­gies char­ac­terised by Machi­avel­lian­ism.”

The team says that fur­ther re­search is needed to un­der­stand whether it is the par­ents’ be­hav­iour that is in­flu­enc­ing their chil­dren.

The re­searchers found no re­la­tion­ship be­tween par­ent­ing and lev­els of Machi­avel­lian­ism in girls.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.