Intergenerational Transmission of Trust: A Dyadic Approach
Refereed Article, 2022
Wu, C. (2022). Intergenerational Transmission of Trust: A Dyadic Approach. Socius, 8, 23780231221076994.
Trustful parents often have trustful children. Yet it is unclear whether this intergenerational correlation of trust is due to genetic inheritance, shared experiences, or parental socialization. In this article, I suggest that a dyadic approach that differentiates same-sex (mother-daughter and father-son) and cross-sex (mother-son and father-daughter) dyads provides important insights into these potential mechanisms. My analysis of a unique parent-child paired data set created from the Chinese Family Panel Studies (2012–2016) reveals several transmission patterns. First, mothers are generally more influential than fathers in the trust transmission process. Second, there is greater transmission between same-sex generational dyads than between cross-sex pairs. Third, parental homogeneity moderates the transmission process. These patterns are hard to explain with genetic or environmental influences, but they are fully compatible with differential socialization theories. The overall evidence indicates that parental socialization is more likely the primary process underlying how trust is transmitted intergenerationally.