How fathers influence our personalities

A father can influence his son or daughter's personality development just as much as a mother can, new research has suggested. Published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review, the study found a dad's love might even contribute more to this progression than a mum's.

Ronald Rohner of the University of Connecticut looked at the effect of rejection on a youth's personality, noting: "Children and adults everywhere - regardless of differences in race, culture, and gender - tend to respond in exactly the same way when they perceived themselves to be rejected by their caregivers."

According to the study, kids often experience the same level of acceptance or rejection from both parents, yet the influence of exclusion from one guardian - found to be the father, more often than not - can be much higher than the other.

Mr Rohner said the findings highlight just how important a dad's love is with regard to a child's progression toward adulthood.

Chartered Psychologist Russell Hurn comments:

"The father’s role should never be underestimated. Children’s perceptions of the world, and their template for interacting with it, are shaped through the behaviour modelled by their parents. A son will look to both parents to see how they manage situations and relationships, but this is likely to be influenced more by his father if he identifies more with him because of their shared gender or physical or psychological similarities.

"So if we feel we are like dad we will watch more carefully what he is like. If we dislike dad or feel different from him we may look more to other family members for information about how to behave."