Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)



First Advisor

Wilson McDermut

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Nevid

Third Advisor

Ernest Hodges


Parenting practices influence offspring’s emotional and developmental behavior. The present study explored the relationships between retrospective ratings of perceived parental care in childhood and general and pathological personality traits in adulthood. Participants were comprised of three adult samples college undergraduate students (N = 105; 69% female), ages 18 to 33 (M = 19.70, SD = 2.28), general population (N = 99; 63% female), ages 18 to 83 (M = 44.71, SD = 16.27), and comedians (N = 111; 33% female), ages 18 to 67 (M = 37.24, SD = 11.20). Data from participants were aggregated from a larger study done in 2015. Participants were recruited to complete surveys on humor, personality, and psychiatric symptoms online. Participants were compensated with class credit for undergraduates, $10 for the general population, and $25 gift cards for the comedians. Through Qualtrics survey software, participants completed the Parental Bonding Instrument, the family environment adjective scale, the Big Five Inventory, the Personality Inventory for the DSM-5 Brief Form, and the Family Environment Adjective Scale. Associations between variables were examined. Hierarchical regressions were run to test predictive value of perceived parental care on the big five personality traits. Moderation analyses were used to test the predictive value of the interaction of perceived parental care and negative family environment on pathological personality traits. High levels of perceived parental care were associated with lower levels of all pathological personality traits and neuroticism and higher levels of agreeableness and conscientiousness. Parental care was a significant predictor for agreeableness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism, but not for openness and extraversion. The interaction of parental care and negative family environment only significantly predicted detachment. Higher levels of parental care predicted lower levels of detachment only at lower levels of negative family environment. As suggested here and in previous studies, parental care plays an important role in adult outcomes, including normal and pathological personality traits.