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Research Article

Intergenerational Transmission in a Bidirectional Context


Jan De Mol ,

Department of Psychology, Université catholique de Louvain, BE
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Gilbert Lemmens,

Department of Psychology, Ghent University, BE
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Leon Kuczynski

Departmentof Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph, CA
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Traditional approaches to the study of parent-child relationships view intergenerational transmission as a top-down phenomenon in which parents transfer their values, beliefs, and practices to their children. Furthermore, the focus of these unidirectional approaches regarding children's internalisation processes is on continuity or the transmission of similar values, beliefs, and practices from parents to children. Analogous unidirectional perspectives have also influenced the domain of family therapy. In this paper a cognitive-bidirectional and dialectical model of dynamics in parent-child relationships is discussed in which the focus is on continual creation of novel meanings and not just reproduction of old ones in the bidirectional transmission processes between parents and children. Parents and children are addressed as full and equally agents in their interdependent relationship, while these relational dynamics are embedded within culture. This cultural context complicates bidirectional transmission influences in the parent-child relationship as both parents and children are influenced by many other contexts. Further, current research in the domain of parent-child relationships and current concepts of intergenerational transmission in family therapy are reviewed from a bidirectional cognitive-dialectical perspective.
How to Cite: De Mol, J., Lemmens, G. and Kuczynski, L., 2013. Intergenerational Transmission in a Bidirectional Context. Psychologica Belgica, 53(3), pp.7–23. DOI:
Published on 01 Jul 2013.
Peer Reviewed


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