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PLoS One. 2018 Aug 24;13(8):e0202518. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0202518. eCollection 2018.

On the genetic and environmental sources of social and political participation in adolescence and early adulthood.

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Department of Psychology, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany.
Department of Psychology, MSB Medical School Berlin, Berlin, Germany.


Political participation (POP), social participation (SOP), and political interest (PI) are important indicators of social status and social inequality. Previous studies on related trait differences yielded genetic and environmental contributions. However, focusing on adult samples, classical twin designs, and convenience samples often restricts parameter estimation and generalizability, and limits the understanding of age differences. We investigated sources of variance in POP, SOP, and PI in late adolescence and early adulthood with an extended twin family design (ETFD). We analyzed data from over 2,000 representative German twin families. Individual environments not shared by family members reflected the major source of variance for all variables, but genetic influences were also pronounced. Genetic effects were mostly higher for young adults, whereas effects of twins' shared environment were significant in adolescence. Our study deepens the understanding of the interplay between genetic and environmental factors in shaping differences in young persons' integration in society.

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