Contemporary research on parenting: The case for nature and nurture

W. Andrew Collins, Eleanor E. Maccoby, Laurence Steinberg, E. Mavis Hetherington, Marc H. Bornstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1090 Scopus citations


Current findings on parental influences provide more sophisticated and less deterministic explanations than did earlier theory and research on parenting. Contemporary research approaches include (a) behavior-genetic designs, augmented with direct measures of potential environmental influences; (b) studies distinguishing among children with different genetically influenced predispositions in terms of their responses to different environmental conditions; (c) experimental and quasi-experimental studies of change in children's behavior as a result of their exposure to parents' behavior, after controlling for children's initial characteristics; and (d) research on interactions between parenting and nonfamilial environmental influences and contexts, illustrating contemporary concern with influences beyond the parent-child dyad. These approaches indicate that parental influences on child development are neither as unambiguous as earlier researchers suggested nor as insubstantial as current critics claim.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-232
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2000


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