Adults who report having had high-quality relationships with their parents during childhood have better overall mental health and are at decreased risk for mental disorders compared with those who report low parental relationship quality. Researchers have predominantly focused on the relationship with the mother, oftentimes excluding the unique role that fathers may play in the long-term development of their offspring. The current study examined the unique associations of recalled childhood experiences of mother-child and father-child relationship quality with daily emotional experiences and stress processes in adulthood. Men and women (N = 912, ages 25-74) retrospectively reported the quality of their childhood relationships with their mother and father. Later, they reported their daily psychological distress and stressor exposure every night over 8 consecutive evenings. Results indicate that mother-child relationship quality was related to lower levels of daily psychological distress. The quality of both mother-child and father-child relationships was related to stressor exposure, but only father-son relationship quality was related to lower levels of emotional reactivity to stressors during adulthood.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies