B4582 - To what extent can genetic factors that are associated with empathy explain individual differences in parenting - 12/04/2024

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Florina Uzefovsky | ben gurion university of the negev
emily hayun
Title of project: 
To what extent can genetic factors that are associated with empathy explain individual differences in parenting?
Proposal summary: 

Parenting is a broad term collating a host of behaviors and emotional responses to one's children. Sensitive and adaptive parenting is considered to reflect the parent's capacity for empathy, i.e., the ability to understand and share in the emotions of others. Interestingly, individual's differences in both parenting and empathy can be partially explained genetic factors. Yet it is still unknown whether genetic predisposition toward empathy can also explain differences in parenting. This project seeks to answer these questions by calculating individuals' empathy polygenic score, that is a score of their genetic potential for empathy, based on a previous genome wide study (N= 46,861, Warrier et al., 2018), and then to examine whether this score is associated with better parenting as measured by questionnaires within the ALSPAC cohort. This study promises to enhance our comprehension of the genetic dimensions of parenting and their interconnectedness with empathy as a fundamental trait. By unraveling these intricate connections, we can foster a more nuanced understanding of the complexities shaping parenting behaviors at the genetic level.

Impact of research: 
The findings are expected to enhance our understanding of how genetic factors are associated with parenting behaviors, contributing valuable insights into the mechanisms behind effective parenting. The research aims to deepen our comprehension of how genetic factors influence parenting behaviors, shedding light on effective parenting mechanisms. This understanding could lead to tailored interventions and support systems that promote empathetic parent-child relationships. Ultimately, the study aspires to contribute to the broader scientific understanding of the genetic basis of human behavior, particularly in the context of parenting, potentially influencing future research and strategies for promoting positive parenting outcomes.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 2 April, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Friday, 12 April, 2024
Genetic epidemiology (including association studies and mendelian randomisation), parenting and empathy , GWAS, Parenting