Mothers’ personality traits influence stability of kids’ relationships

New York: The relationship skills and personality traits that you inherit from your mother are likely to determine the number of romantic partners you will have, say researchers.

A new study has shown that people whose mothers had more partners — married or cohabiting — often follow the same path.

“Our results suggest that mothers may pass on their marriageable characteristics and relationship skills to their children — for better or worse,” said lead author Claire Kamp Dush, Associate Professor at The Ohio State University.

“It could be that mothers who have more partners don’t have great relationship skills, or don’t deal with conflict well, or have mental health problems, each of which can undermine relationships and lead to instability.

“Whatever the exact mechanisms, they may pass these characteristics on to their children, making their children’s relationships less stable,” Dush said.

For the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, the team included 7,152 people and followed them for at least 24 years.

Both the number of marriages and the number of cohabiting partners by mothers had similar effects on how many partners their children had.

However, siblings exposed to their mothers’ cohabitation for longer periods had more partners than their siblings exposed to less cohabitation.

“You may see cohabitation as an attractive, lower-commitment type of relationship if you’ve seen your mother in such a relationship for a longer time,” Dush said.

“That may lead to more partners since cohabiting relationships are more likely to break-up.”