Contemporary Research on Parenting

Topics: Family, Assisted reproductive technology, Parent Pages: 3 (825 words) Published: November 20, 2012
Contemporary Research on Parenting:
The case for Nature and Nurture

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

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.

Although the use of donor sperm to enable couples with an infertile male partner to have children has been practiced for many years, it is only since 1983, following advances in reproductive technology, that infertile women have been able to conceive a child using a donated egg (Lutjen et al., 1984; Trousin, Leeton, Beasanka, Wood, & Conti, 1983). This procedure involves fertilization of the donated egg with the father’s sperm in the laboratory, followed by the transfer of the resulting embryo to the mother’s uterus. Thus, it is now possible for children to be born to, and raised by, mothers with whom they have no genetic link. A number of concerns have been expressed regarding the potential negative consequences of gamete donation for children’s psychological well being, the most...
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