HEXACO Personality Investigation into Parenting: Evolutionary Investment Decisions, Punishment and Real-Time Parenting Behavior
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Parenting is an important and variable job, with a wide range in parents’ behavior and decisions. An important part of this variance comes from the parent themselves. Individuals differences in parenting, such as personality traits, may explain a large portion of the variance in parents’ behavior and decisions. Personality traits may also explain how parenting is related to different child characteristics and behavior. Using evolutionary theories of parenting and personality traits, my dissertation investigated the influence of HEXACO personality traits, in combination with children’s characteristics/behavior, across three parenting contexts. Study 1 examined the personality associations with parental investment versus other investment efforts, at the perceptual and behavioral level using infant images as stimuli to motivate parenting appeal and engagement. Study 2 examined personality links with adults’ punishment toward child misbehavior based on children’s age and intentionality. Study 3 observed the associations between personality and real-time parenting behavior. and how these links fit with children’s personality and behavior on a playground. My results showed that higher Emotionality (emotional attachment toward others), as per its theorized role as the strongest HEXACO trait with parenting, was associated with parenting and sensitivity to certain child characteristics across all three studies. Other HEXACO traits were also associated with more positive as well as harsh parenting behavior and responses that were context specific. Overall, my results depict that personality-related predispositions are flexible to child characteristics and delineate important parenting decisions across various contexts.