While parents remain key socializing agents for political attitudes of adolescents, we observe that parent–child similarity in these attitudes is less substantial than initially theorized and seems to vary across studies and type of attitude. We hypothesize that social learning mechanisms explain differences in the strength of parent–child similarity. To assess this proposition, we compare the moderating power of political discussion, political sophistication, parental homogeneity, and gender using data from the Belgian Parent–Child Socialization Study 2013 (N = 1943 families). Our results demonstrate that parents and children resemble in their political and social attitudes and that this similarity is stronger for concrete and socially salient attitudes and reinforced by frequency in political discussion. Results also indicate that social learning practices, or at least the ones considered in this study, are not necessary conditions (anymore) for parent–child correspondence. Frequency of cue-giving in the form of direct communication is important to internalize parental attitudes but political sophistication and consistency in cue-giving less so. Parents and children correspond even in the absence of optimal social learning conditions which suggests that informal learning and observation of parental behavior are crucial to consider as well.

Parent-child similarity, Parental homogeneity, Political attitudes, Political discussion, Political sophistication, Social learning
dx.doi.org/10.1057/s41269-020-00186-0, hdl.handle.net/1765/131718
Acta Politica: international journal of political science
Department of Sociology

Meeusen, C. (Cecil), & Boonen, J. (Joris). (2020). Facilitators of intergenerational similarity in social and political attitudes: the role of discussion, sophistication, attitudinal homogeneity, and gender. Acta Politica: international journal of political science. doi:10.1057/s41269-020-00186-0