Parent-child proximity and personality: basic human values and moving distance

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

8 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: An important event in many young people's lives is moving out of the parental home. This event is often operationalized as the distance between parents and their children, i.e., parent-child proximity.

METHODS: The present study (N = 1,451) analyzed correlates of parent-child proximity through the lens of human value theory (Schwartz, Advances in experimental social psychology, 1992). Besides a classical proximity measure (i.e., parent-child), we also calculated the distance between childhood and current place of residence (i.e., childhood-now), as well as parent-childhood proximity (distance between children's childhood place of residence and the current place of residence of parents), which acts as a control group because this distance is most probably chosen by the parents.

RESULTS: As hypothesized, we found that participants valuing universalism and self-direction as important (i.e., associated with growth and anxiety-freedom) moved further away from the place where their parents live and the place where they grew up than participants valuing self-protection and anxiety-avoidance (e.g., tradition, security, conformity).

CONCLUSIONS: This study not only adds to research on psychological motivations to move, it endorses value theory as being a useful lens through which to analyze migration behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
Pages (from-to)26
JournalBMC psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Personality
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Social Values
  • Young Adult


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