Background: The current study explored the relationship between parenting experience in childhood as a specific aspect of the non-shared environment and the amount of psychopathology in adulthood.
Sampling and Methods: 27 same-sex sibling pairs were studied. In each pair, one proband was a psychiatric outpatient, the other proband a non-patient. All probands filled in the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI) and the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R).
Results: The patients rated higher on practically all SCL-90-R scales whereas no significant differences were found with regard to the PBI ratings. With only one exception, there were no significant correlations between PBI and SCL-90-R ratings in the group of patients. In contrast, all SCL-90-R subscales correlated negatively with paternal care and half of them positively with paternal control in patients' healthy siblings.
Conclusions: The degree of paternal care seems to be most closely related with lack of mental symptoms in psychiatric non-patients. In contrast, parenting does not seem to play a substantial role in patients, presenting with a higher degree of psychopathology. Obviously, environmental factors become less important, the more pronounced the pathology.