- Parenting and Personality Disorders. Adnotated.

Saturday, 22 August, Year 12 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

A fascinating article that no one will ever actually read: Parenting Behaviors Associated With Risk For Offspring Personality Disorder During Adulthood.

The authors made a (startling) discovery: there are types of parenting behaviors which predispose your kid to growing up personality disordered.i

This was a longitudinal study of 592 families, first assessed when the kids were about 5, and then again when they were in their 30s. (More info at their website

The results are pretty much what you'd expect:


The more of these behaviors the parents exhibited, the more the risk of PD increased. What is interesting is which PD was increased given the number of parental behaviors:

First, overall number of bad parental behaviors:
(antisocial=criminal; avoidant=shy; narcissistic=self-absorbed)


You'll notice that antisocial PD is essentially zero at baseline, and is dramatically sensitive to bad parenting. Contrast this withiii avoidant PD, which, while also sensitive to the parenting, starts out higher at baseline. In other words, you may be born shy, but not antisocial.

Looking at specific types of bad parenting:


What you'll see in the top figure is that being an aversive parent is a great way of making someone borderline or passive-aggressive, not to mention paranoid. But it doesn't make them antisocial. Hmm.

Meanwhile, having low affection or low nurturing scores increased the risk for antisocial, as well as everything else (but especially avoidant, paranoid, depressive, borderline).

Some covariate caveats: even when parental psychaitric disorders and offspring behavioral problems at age 6 were controlled, bad parenting was still associatd with increased risk of their kids' PD.

Furthermore, the usual association of parental psychiatric disorder leading to child PD could be explained, in fact, 95% due to the bad parenting. Another way of saying this is that 95% of the effect that a parental psychiatric disorder has on causing their kids' personality disorder can be obviated by better parenting. In a similar vein, 35% of the effect of childhood behavioral problems leading to later PD can be similarly reduced by better parenting. In other words, even if you or your kids have a "biological" psychiatric disorder, better parenting skills can darmiadramatically affect the outcome.

It is not an insignificant fact that only one of the 5 authors was an MD (oddly, he is also a PhD but does not list this in the authorship lineiv.). The nature vs. nurture debate in psychiatry is all but dead.

The longer we delude ourselves that biology controls behavior, and not the other way around, the longer we'll have to live with the same behaviors.

  1. The authors made no such discovery. The authors took a remarkably tiny sample, which is necessarily biased by its insignificant minuscularity, then they fit some psycho-socio-politico-economical & religio-cultural narrative upon it. It is pointless to protest that "oh no, they didn't 'set out' to do such a thing or they weren't consciously doing it or any such idiocy : out of ten billion people now alive, ten quadrillion people historically alive and untold bazillion bijillions people theoretically possible you can make a... relatively large number, let's say, of such "studies" on sets of a few hundred at a time. Only some of which ever get published -- in this case, this one -- through a selection process. Geddit ?

    If you attempted to give an account of "what literature is possible" through the process of reading three words at a time out of whatever newspapers you can get your grubby paws on you'd be producing "literary criticism" of the exact caliber of this here "science" ; or, in other words, the fact that you don't know what you're doing doesn't excuse you from having done it, the world's not something that happens by your approval nor does it require your explicit acquiescence. []

  2. Which is meanwhile, of course, stone-cold dead. []
  3. The ever-present dream of building dat city on the hill, truebelievin' socialism's ever-bread&butter. Here's the thing : humans, like all live things, are not fucking stable. They're meta-stable, which isn't at all the same thing ; they contain, under the water, a lot of mechanisms that never get to be exposed -- but would have been exposed in different circumstances. The fact that kids behave so-and-so in this-and-here context doesn't mean anything about anything, should parenting "improve" according to whatever psycho-socio-politico-economical & religio-cultural narrative the children would simply expose a different tip of the immense iceberg of phenotypical possibility included in genetic diversity, and as a result... the same exact types would manifest, because the situation is meta-stable over breathtaking breaths of chasmic width that scare the mind -- I don't mean these numbnuts "scientists" hare brains, I mean the actual mind, familiar with and capable of 1e80 jumps -- and as such it is entirely impervious to piddly fiddling with samples of a hundred or three at a time.

    This isn't to say that meaningful science can't be produced upon human behaviour ; but much like "neuropsychology" is the exact equivalent of trying to debug assembly code by use of a spot thermometer upon the processor, this sort of behaviourist psychology is directly the attempt to understand internal combustion engines by reviewing automated registration plate photos a dozen at a time. The meaningful "longitudinal study" would span literal trillions of individuals over tens of thousands of years at the very least, and it would require a lot more detail than the dozen kilobytes per case a generous estimate allows here. Under 1e24 or so bytes of data per study no attempt at psychology can possibly be anything but pretentious gossip. []

  4. By now "epidemiology" as a pseudo-scientific "qualification" has come to signify just about what the older term полити[ческий]рук[оводитель] did, huh. []
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6 Responses

  1. I kept expecting this text to finally tip its hand as simply an illustration of that old lack of meaning in applying the scientific method by itself but to my surprise it seems that it's taking itself extremely seriously and the worship is real, the data has spoken through its colourful charts and therefore the secret of human existence is revealed, the source of current suffering is made clear, the sins exposed (bad parenting!!), the path to salvation is set before the unseeing eyes and the choice is so conveniently simple that "we" can all get it even in English through that single summarizing sentence with which any good sermon must conclude, the call/shame to action/penitence: "The longer we delude ourselves that biology controls behavior, and not the other way around, the longer we'll have to live with the same behaviors. "

    It's truly a religious fin de siecle indeed. Though seriously, it looks to me more and more like curu' v'acului.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Sunday, 23 August 2020

    Multi ce-i drept, da' prosti de-mpung.

  3. Chelsea Clinton`s avatar
    Chelsea Clinton 
    Wednesday, 2 September 2020

    Another piece of evidence for the nature vs. nurture debate: second-generation immigrants.

    Take the children of Chinese/Indian/Viet/whatever immigrants, born in a Western country like the US.

    For the most part, the children walk, talk, think, act and function like Americans, with an overlay of Chinese/Indian/Viet whatever cultural traits. They're "Americans with Chinese characteristics" (or Indian characteristics, Viet characteristics, whatever characteristics).

    Compare the typical American to the typical second-generation "Chinese-American" to see the effects of nurture. The Chinese cultural overlay is not negligible.

    However, compare the second-generation immigrant to the native-born Chinese-Chinese, and it becomes even more clear that environmental cultural programming is the dominant factor in a person's development. Even the combination of Chinese genetics and Chinese parenting will not prevent a baby born and raised in the US from growing up American. Seems the cultural imprint is acquired alongside a person's first language. Explains why Western expats in China send their spawn to English-language "international schools", prevents them from being plugged into the Han cultural matrix.

  4. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Wednesday, 2 September 2020

    I have relatively little experience with the demographic in question -- outside of an originally very bashful but eventually very eagerly naked girl that looked plainly chinese while claiming "she's not asian" (who contributed the original bra to the bramobile) I can't really recall any to mind -- but Ballas seems steeped in 'em (probably because Med School in the US, what can you do). So I'll rather defer to his discussion of their alienation.

    That stated, it becomes obvious (at least to me) that this "cultural programming" you speak of is only the dominant factor in the development of retards, as per ye olde "schooling exists to get retards socialized", something that'd be naturally a lot more obvious in overtly and insistently retard-dedicated cultures (also known as socialism in general).

    In other words : there's no merit to the theory ; and the proposal to the contrary is merely an elaborate exercise in begging the question.

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