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A Comparison of the personality profiles of parents and their children Coulter, Thelma Templeton

Abstract

The purpose of this experiment was to test experimentally the degree of relationship between parents and their unmarried children over the age of 16 in respect to nine personality traits on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. It was hypothesized that the degree of relationship between like-sexed parent-child is significantly higher than that between cross-sexed parent-child. In order that the hypothesis might be tested the MMPI was administered to 52 families all with a Roman Catholic religious background. All responses were scored according to the manual of directions and subjected to statistical analysis in order that differences might be demonstrated. The results of the experiment lend support to the hypothesis, the main findings being as follows: 1. Significant correlations exist between various members of the family on the nine MMPI variables. These correlations are small but favor a theory of positive relationships between parents and their children. 2. Significant differences between like-sexed and cross-sexed parent-child combinations exist on the Mf scale. On the remaining 8 scales there is no significant difference. However, there is evident a positive general trend which indicated that sons tend to resemble their fathers and daughters to resemble their mothers. The results are not high enough to be of predictive importance. The data are more suggestive than conclusive . This lack of significance may be due to various factors which tend to lower intra-family correlations. Suggestions were made for further research on other groups.

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