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Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007 Apr;64(4):457-65.

Parenting and adolescent antisocial behavior and depression: evidence of genotype x parenting environment interaction.

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  • 1Prevention Research Center, Pennsylvania State University, State College, University Park, PA 16802, USA. mfeinberg@psu.edu



Little is known about the interplay of genotypes and malleable risk factors in influencing adolescent psychiatric symptoms and disorders. Information on these processes is crucial in designing programs for the prevention of psychiatric disorders.


To assess whether latent genetic factors and measured parent-child relationships interact (G x E) in predicting adolescent antisocial behavior and depression.


We characterized risk of antisocial behavior and depression in adolescents by means of a genetically informed design. We used in-home questionnaire and observational measures of adolescent outcomes and environmental moderators (parenting), and a latent variable behavior genetic analytic model.


A nationally distributed sample recruited from random-digit dialing and national market panels.


A total of 720 families with at least 2 children, 9 through 18 years old, stratified by genetic relatedness (monozygotic and dizygotic twins, full biological siblings in nondivorced and stepfamilies, and half-siblings and biologically unrelated siblings in stepfamilies).


Antisocial behavior and depressive symptoms.


There was an interaction of genotype and both parental negativity and low warmth predicting overall antisocial behavior, as well as aggressive and nonaggressive forms of antisocial behavior, but not depression. Genetic influence was greater for adolescent antisocial behavior when parenting was more negative or less warm. Genotype-environment correlation was partialled out in the analysis and thus did not account for the results.


This study demonstrates, on the basis of careful measurement and appropriate analytic methods, that a continuous measure of parenting in the normative range moderates the influence of genotype on antisocial behavior.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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