Send to

Choose Destination
Dev Psychol. 2018 Jul;54(7):1277-1289. doi: 10.1037/dev0000522. Epub 2018 Apr 26.

Parent depressive symptomatology moderates the etiology of externalizing behavior in childhood: An examination of gene-environment interaction effects.

Author information

Department of Psychology, Michigan State University.


Parent depressive symptomatology is robust risk factor for externalizing behavior in childhood (Goodman et al., 2011). Although the precise mechanisms underlying this association have yet to be fully illuminated, there is some evidence that parent depression can impact externalizing behavior via both genetic and environmental pathways. In the current study, we investigated the extent to which genetic and environmental influences on externalizing behavior are moderated by parent depressive symptoms (i.e., genotype-environment interaction) in a sample of 2,060, 6- to 11-year-old twins. Results suggest that genetic influences explain more variance in externalizing behavior as maternal depressive symptoms increase, whereas shared environmental effects decrease. These findings were specific to maternal depressive symptoms, however, and did not extend to not paternal depressive symptoms. Findings are critical for understanding the role of parental depression as a risk factor for problematic child behavior, and informing programs that seek to minimize the impact of this risk factor. (PsycINFO Database Record.

[Available on 2019-07-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Psychological Association
Loading ...
Support Center