Fatherly love has just as much if not more influence on a person's personality compared to motherly love, according to a new study.
"In our half-century of international research, we've not found any other class of experience that has as strong and consistent effect on personality and personality development as does the experience of rejection, especially by parents in childhood," co-author Ronald Rohner of the University of Connecticut said in a statement.
"Children and adults everywhere — regardless of differences in race, culture, and gender — tend to respond in exactly the same way when they perceived themselves to be rejected by their caregivers and other attachment figures," he added.
Researchers studying the effect of parental rejection and acceptance in shaping an individual's personality as a child and as an adult analyzed 36 studies from around the world that in total included more than 10,000 participants.
Rohner and co-author Abdul Khaleque found that children who were often rejected by their parents tend to feel more anxious and insecure, as well as more hostile and aggressive toward others.
What's more is that the pain of parental rejection lingers on, making it more difficult for these children to form secure and trusting relationships as adults.
Researchers also said that there is growing evidence in the field of psychology in neuroscience that shows that rejection activates parts of the brain associated with experiencing physical pain, but unlike bodily discomfort, people can psychologically re-live the emotional agony of rejection over and over for years.
Rohner found that the difference between paternal and maternal love in how they influence personalities could be explained by the fact that children and young adults are likely to pay more attention to whichever parent they perceive to have higher interpersonal power or prestige.
Therefore if a child perceives her father as having a higher prestige in the household, he may be more influential in her life than the child's mother.
Rohner said that the importance of a father's love should motivate men to become more involved in nurturing child care.
He also said that society should stop "mother blaming" in schools in clinical settings and put more emphasis on the influence of fathers.
"The great emphasis on mothers and mothering in America has led to an inappropriate tendency to blame mothers for children's behavior problems and maladjustment when, in fact, fathers are often more implicated than mothers in the development of problems such as these," Rohner said.
Published by Medicaldaily.com