Social Indicators Research

, Volume 119, Issue 2, pp 967–978 | Cite as

Parent–Child Proximity: Automatic Cognitions Matter

  • Stefan Stieger
  • Martin Voracek
  • Ingo W. Nader


Individuals’ moving behavior (e.g., residential mobility) is an emerging topic in many scientific disciplines. One specific aspect is the distance between parents and their children (i.e., parent–child proximity). Although determinants and moderators of parent–child proximity can be manifold, we concentrated on the psychological concepts self-esteem and affect by assessing explicit (i.e., conscious) and implicit (i.e., automatic) aspects. Besides well-known correlates of moving behavior (e.g., education), we found that participants (N = 1,765; cross-sectional design) with high positive explicit affect and low negative implicit affect moved further away from their parents’ homes. Therefore, parent–child proximity may not be only based on fundamental sociocultural and socioeconomic needs (e.g., income, family bonds), but also on automatic psychological aspects, such as implicit affect.


Implicit cognitions Moving behavior Parent–child proximity Positive/negative affect Self-esteem 


  1. Altman, I., & Low, S. M. (1992). Place attachment. New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anseel, F., & Duyck, W. (2008). Unconscious applicants: A systematic test of the name-letter effect. Psychological Science, 19, 1059–1061. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02199.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baccus, J. R., Baldwin, M. W., & Packer, D. J. (2004). Increasing implicit self-esteem through classical conditioning. Psychological Science, 15, 498–502. doi: 10.1111/j.0956-7976.2004.00708.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Gebauer, J. E., Riketta, M., Broemer, P., & Maio, G. R. (2008). How much do you like your name? An implicit measure of global self-esteem. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 1346–1354. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2008.03.016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Greenwald, A. G., & Banaji, M. R. (1995). Implicit social cognition: Attitudes, self-esteem, and stereotypes. Psychological Review, 102, 4–27. doi: 10.1037//0033-295X.102.1.4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Greenwald, A. G., McGhee, D. E., & Schwartz, J. L. K. (1998). Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: The implicit association test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1464–1480. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.74.6.1464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Greenwald, A. G., Poehlman, T. A., Uhlmann, E. L., & Banaji, M. R. (2009). Understanding and using the implicit association test: III. Meta-analysis of predictive validity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 17–41. doi: 10.1037/a0015575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gregg, A. P., & Sedikides, C. (2010). Narcissistic fragility: Rethinking its links to explicit and implicit self-esteem. Self and Identity, 9, 142–161. doi: 10.1080/15298860902815451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Guo, M., Chi, I., & Silverstein, M. (2011). Family as a context: The influence of family composition and family geographic dispersion on intergenerational relationships among Chinese elderly. International Journal of Social Welfare, 20, 18–29. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2397.2011.00793.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ha, J. H., & Carr, D. (2005). The effect of parent-child geographic proximity on widowed parents’ psychological adjustment and social integration. Research on Aging, 27, 578–610. doi: 10.1177/0164027505277977.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hank, K. (2007). Proximity and contacts between older parents and their children: A European comparison. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69, 157–173. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2006.00351.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jokela, M., Elovainio, M., Kivimaki, M., & Keltikangas-Jarvinen, L. (2008). Temperament and migration patterns in Finland. Psychological Science, 19, 831–837. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02164.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jordan, C. H., Spencer, S. J., Zanna, M. P., Hoshino-Browne, E., & Coreel, J. (2003). Secure and defensive high self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 969–978. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.85.5.969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kitayama, S., & Karasawa, M. (1997). Implicit self-esteem in Japan: Name letters and birthday numbers. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 736–742. doi: 10.1177/0146167297237006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Krohne, H. W., Egloff, B., Kohlmann, C. W., & Tausch, A. (1996). Investigations with a German version of the positive and negative affect schedule (PANAS). Diagnostica, 42, 139–156.Google Scholar
  16. Leopold, T., Geißler, F., & Pink, S. (2012). How far do children move? Spatial distances after leaving the parental home. Social Science Research, 41, 991–1002. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2012.03.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lin, G., & Rogerson, P. A. (1995). Elderly parents and the geographic availability of their adult children. Research on Aging, 17, 303–331. doi: 10.1177/0164027595173004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Nuttin, J. M. (1985). Narcissism beyond gestalt and awareness: The name letter effect. European Journal of Social Psychology, 15, 353–361. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2420150309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Oishi, S. (2010). The psychology of residential mobility: Implications for the self, social relationships, and well-being. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5, 5–21. doi: 10.1177/1745691609356781.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Oishi, S., Krochik, M., Roth, D., & Sherman, G. D. (2012a). Residential mobility, personality, and subjective and physical well-being: An analysis of cortisol secretion. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3, 153–161. doi: 10.1177/1948550611412395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Oishi, S., Miao, F. F., Koo, M., Kisling, J., & Ratliff, K. A. (2012b). Residential mobility breeds familiarity-seeking. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102, 149–162. doi: 10.1037/a0024949.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Oishi, S., & Schimmack, U. (2010). Residential mobility, well-being, and mortality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98, 980–994. doi: 10.1037/a0019389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Payne, B. K., Cheng, C. M., Govorun, O., & Stewart, B. D. (2005). An inkblot for attitudes: Affect misattribution as implicit measurement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, 277–293. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.89.3.277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pelham, B. W., Mirenberg, M. C., & Jones, J. T. (2002). Why Susie sells seashells by the seashore: Implicit egotism and major life decisions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 469–487. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.82.4.469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Quirin, M., Kazén, M., & Kuhl, J. (2009). When nonsense sounds happy or helpless: The implicit positive and negative affect test (IPANAT). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 500–516. doi: 10.1037/a0016063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Reher, D. S. (1998). Family ties in Western Europe: Persistent contrasts. Population and Development Review, 24, 203–234. doi: 10.2307/2807972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Silventoinen, K., Hammar, N., Hedlund, E., Koskenvuo, M., Rönnemaa, T., & Kaprio, J. (2008). Selective international migration by social position, health behaviour and personality. The European Journal of Public Health, 18, 150–155. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckm052.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Simonsohn, U. (2011). Spurious also? Name similarity effects (implicit egotism) in employer decisions. Psychological Science, 22, 1087–1089. doi: 10.1177/0956797611413937.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Statistics Austria (2012). Internal migrations. Retrieved from
  30. Stieger, S. (2013). Implicit anxiety: No evidence for a relation with childhood fears and parental rearing behaviour. Psychologica Belgica, 53, 75–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stieger, S., & Burger, C. (2013). More complex than previously thought: New insights into the optimal administration of the initial preference task. Self and Identity, 12, 201–216. doi: 10.1080/15298868.2012.655897.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Stieger, S., Voracek, M., & Formann, A. K. (2012). How to administer the initial preference task. European Journal of Personality, 26, 63–78. doi: 10.1002/per.823.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Strack, F., & Deutsch, R. (2009). Reflective and impulsive determinants of social behavior. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 8, 220–247. doi: 10.1207/s15327957pspr0803_1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tomassini, C., Wolf, D. A., & Rosina, A. (2003). Parental housing assistance and parent-child proximity in Italy. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 65, 700–715. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2003.00700.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. von Collani, G., & Herzberg, P. Y. (2003). A revision of the Rosenberg self-esteem scale in German language. Zeitschrift für Differentielle und Diagnostische Psychologie, 24, 3–7. doi: 10.1024//0170-1789.24.1.3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063–1070. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.54.6.1063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Stieger
    • 1
  • Martin Voracek
    • 1
  • Ingo W. Nader
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods, School of PsychologyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

Personalised recommendations