Boys whose parents argue ‘grow up to be Machiavellian’
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.