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Title: Attitudes to authority : life-course stability, intergenerational transmission, and socio-psychological mechanisms in the British Cohort Study 1970
Author: Melis, Gabriella
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 5800
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2017
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My PhD work aimed to assess intergenerational transmission and life-course change of attitudes towards authority. Intergenerational transmission is hypothesised as the mechanism through which parents' authoritarian attitudes affect their children's attitudes towards authority in adulthood. In the assessment of this transmission mechanism, this analysis accounts for individual-level theoretically relevant factors such as gender, education, social class, offspring's cognitive ability in childhood, as well as family background, in a longitudinal, single-cohort perspective. The research used the British Cohort Study 1970 (BCS70), which allows for the analysis of change at both the intra- and inter-individual levels. The sweeps analysed are those in years 1975 for the parents, and 1980, 1996, 2000 and 2012 for the cohort members. The analytical chapters of the thesis are made of three papers: The first assessed change (or stability) in attitudes to authority in the BCS70 from 1996 to 2012; the second looked at how parental authoritarian worldviews affect their children's attitudes towards authority when the children are adults; finally, the third paper aimed to evaluate the effect of parental attitudes on cohort members' attitudes towards authority in adulthood, after controlling for the latter's cognitive ability in childhood. I found that attitudes had a reasonably high level of stability across the life course. Despite moderately strong correlations across attitudes within waves, the different attitudes showed different patterns of longitudinal evolution, suggesting different causal influences. The evidence for direct transmission of attitudes from parents to children was surprisingly weak; the social statuses of the parents and cohort members, and especially the members' childhood cognitive ability, were the strongest predictors of authoritarian attitudes in adulthood.
Supervisor: Shryane, Nicholas Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: authoritarianism ; intergenerational transmission ; family transmission ; longitudinal ; cohort study ; socialisation ; attitudes