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Publication #FAR2037

Love and Acceptance Are Crucial to Development Worldwide1

Carol Church2

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If you’ve ever traveled to another country, perhaps one far across the world, you may have been struck by the universal nature of the tender and sometimes tricky relationship between parent and child. Now a new analysis of 36 studies from 18 countries, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review, confirms some important truths about how parents can affect their children for a lifetime (Khaleque & Rohner, 2012).

All in all, these studies looked at the experiences of more than 10,000 children and adults who were asked questions about whether they felt wanted and loved by their parents. They also completed tests rating aspects of their personality (Khaleque & Rohner, 2012).

Children and adults who felt more accepted by their parents scored significantly higher on the positive personality traits measured in the study. They were less aggressive and hostile and more emotionally stable and responsive. They felt more positive about the world and themselves and more able to get what they wanted out of life. This relationship was stronger for children, but persisted well into the adult years (Khaleque & Rohner, 2012).

Importantly, fathers’ affection for, and acceptance of, their children was just as important or even, in some cases, more important than mothers’ affection and acceptance. The authors of the study say these findings are a crucial reminder of the central role of fathers, pointing out that at times there is an “inappropriate tendency” (ScienceDaily, 2012) to focus solely on mothers. Around the globe, a father’s love and acceptance is also vital to children’s development.

Listening, learning, and living together: it’s the science of life. “Family Album” is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension and the UF Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences. If you’d like to learn more, please visit our website at, or find Family Album Radio on Facebook.

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Khaleque, A., & Rohner, R. P. (2012). Transnational relations between perceived parental acceptance and personality dispositions of children and adults: A meta-analytic review. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 16(2), 103-115. doi: 10.1177/1088868311418986

ScienceDaily. (June 28, 2012). A father's love is one of the greatest influences on personality development. Retrieved from



This document is FAR2037, one of a series of the Department of Family Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original broadcast date June 2012, as program 1967. Published on EDIS August 2013. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Carol Church, writer, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.