The General Factor of Personality (GFP) and parental support: Testing a prediction from Life History Theory

Dimitri Van der Linden, Aurelio J. Figueredo, Rebecca N.H. de Leeuw, Ron H.J. Scholte, Rutger C.M.E. Engels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In the present study, we tested whether the General Factor of Personality (GFP) is related to the level of parental support. The GFP is assumed to occupy the apex of the hierarchy of human personality structure and is believed to reflect a socially and sexually selected aggregate of behavioral characteristics that are generally valued as "desirable" in interpersonal relationships. The relationship between the GFP and parental support tested in this study is predicted by Life History Theory, a midlevel evolutionary account of systematic differences in evolved reproductive strategies. A total of 428 families with mother, father, and two children (range 14-16 years) participated. Parents filled out personality questionnaires (Big Five) and their level of parental support. The children also independently rated the amount of support they perceived from their parents. In the present sample, parents' GFPs were found to explain 33% of the variance in the Big Five. Moreover, the parents' GFPs showed significant relationships with the parents' self-rated parental support, but also with the child-rated parental support. The monoinformant (parents ratings) and multi-informant (parent and child ratings) data support the notion of a substantive GFP that is related to the investment of parents into their offspring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-546
Number of pages10
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Big Five
  • General Factor of Personality
  • Life History Theory
  • Parental support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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