Parent-child value similarity in families with young children: The predictive power of prosocial educational goals

Anna Doering, Elena Makarova, Walter Herzog, Anat Bardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Downloads (Pure)


Value transmission from one generation to the next is a key issue in every society, but it is not clear which parents are the most successful in transmitting their values to their children. We propose parents’ prosocial educational goals as key predictors of parent-child value similarity and accordingly hypothesized that the more parents wanted their children to endorse values of self-transcendence (helping, supporting, and caring for others) and the less parents wanted their children to endorse the opposing values of self-enhancement (striving for power and achievement), the higher would be parent-child overall value similarity. Findings from two studies of families – Study 1: 261 Swiss families, children aged 7-9 years; Study 2: 157 German families, children aged 6-11 years – confirmed this hypothesis. The effect was even stronger after controlling for values that prevail in the Swiss and German society, respectively. We integrate evidence from this study of values in families with young children with existing findings from studies with adolescent and adult children, and we discuss potential pathways from parents’ educational goals to parent-child value similarity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-756
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date27 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Values

Cite this