We examined parent-child relationship quality and positive mental well-being using Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development data. Well-being was measured at ages 13–15 (teacher-rated happiness), 36 (life satisfaction), 43 (satisfaction with home and family life) and 60–64 years (Diener Satisfaction With Life scale and Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-being scale). The Parental Bonding Instrument captured perceived care and control from the father and mother to age 16, recalled by study members at age 43. Greater well-being was seen for offspring with higher combined parental care and lower combined parental psychological control (p < 0.05 at all ages). Controlling for maternal care and paternal and maternal behavioural and psychological control, childhood social class, parental separation, mother’s neuroticism and study member’s personality, higher well-being was consistently related to paternal care. This suggests that both mother–child and father–child relationships may have short and long-term consequences for positive mental well-being.
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