Parent personality traits and adolescent sexual behaviour: Cross-sectional findings from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children

Mark S. Allen, Sylvain Laborde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Parent personality traits are thought to influence offspring outcomes through inherited traits and parenting styles. This study sought to test associations between parental personality traits and adolescent sexual behaviour. In total, 3089 Australian adolescents (1576 boys, 1513 girls; age 16–17 years) provided information on their sexual activity, with personality data available for 92% of mothers and 60% of fathers. In total, 64.6% of boys and 18.2% of girls reported viewing pornography. Results showed that mothers' personality traits were most important for adolescent sexual behaviour. Adolescents with more extraverted mothers were more likely to be sexually active, and those with more conscientious mothers tended to have their first sexual encounter at a later age. Girls were more likely to view pornography (and more frequently view pornography) if their mothers scored higher on openness, whereas boys were more likely to view pornography (and more frequently view pornography) if their mothers scored lower on conscientiousness. Sexually active girls were also more likely to use contraception if their fathers scored higher on conscientiousness. Effect sizes were small in all instances. Overall, these findings provide initial evidence that parent personality traits relate to offspring sexual behaviour in mid-late adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111682
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume195
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Big five
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Five-factor model
  • Sexuality

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