Intergenerational Transmission

Intergenerational transmission is best understood as the passing of abilities, behaviors, beliefs, and traits from one generation to future generations. This entry employs a life-span perspective and focuses on five main domains of transmission: attitudes, relationships, resources, psychological disorders, and maladaptive behaviors.


Social learning theory holds that children learn through observing others who serve as influential models. Observational learning may lead children to share their parents’ values, attitudes, and behaviors. Research has demonstrated that parents’ attitudes are strongly associated with children’s attitudes and predict children’s attitudes in adulthood. In addition, behavioral genetics research has discovered a significant heritable aspect of many social attitudes.

Religious Values

Parents are a central influence on children’s religious values and attitudes through modeling religious behaviors and attitudes and through the parent–child relationship. When ...

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