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Child Dev. 1995 Apr;66(2):330-45.

Genetic influences on perceptions of childhood family environment: a reared apart twin study.

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Minnesota Twin Family Study, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455-0304, USA.


This study estimates the extent to which heredity influences perceptions of childhood family environment in a sample of 58 monozygotic and 46 dizygotic pairs of adult twins who were reared apart. The measures used to assess family environments were the Family Environment Scale (FES) and Block Environmental Questionnaire (BEQ). A principal component factor analysis with a VARIMAX rotation of the FES and BEQ yielded 2 major factors--Support, and Organization and Cultural Orientation. Single and multiple indicator model-fitting techniques were applied to the reared apart twin data on the 2 factors. Perceived support in childhood family environments was fitted best by a model incorporating additive genetic and unshared environmental factors. Perceived organization was fitted most adequately by a model which includes only unshared environmental factors. Maximum-likelihood estimates of heritability from model-fitting analyses suggest that genetic factors explain 44% of the variance of perceptions of support dimension in childhood family environments.

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