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Behav Genet. 1994 May;24(3):193-205.

A study of problem behaviors in 10- to 15-year-old biologically related and unrelated international adoptees.

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Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Sophia Children's Hospital-Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Genetic and environmental influences on problem behaviors were studied in a sample of international adoptees. Parental ratings of childrens' problem behaviors were obtained with the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). The sample (mean age, 12.4 years) comprised a group of biological siblings (111 pairs), a group of nonbiological siblings (221 pairs), and a group of singletons (94). Nonshared environmental influences were most important for problem behaviors studied in this paper. Genetic influences were substantial for Externalizing behaviors but unimportant for Internalizing behaviors. For the CBCL total problem score, Attention Problems, and Externalizing behaviors, the results of the present study were in agreement with findings from twin studies. The lack of genetic influences on Internalizing behaviors contrasts with results from twin studies. For the total problem score, the Externalizing grouping, Delinquent Behavior, and Aggressive Behavior, variances for singletons were significantly smaller than for siblings. Model fit indices indicated that these differences in variances are better attributed to smaller effects of factors associated with sibship size than to active influences of siblings on each other. Significant sex differences were found for 8 of the 10 scales. The larger variances for boys on the Externalizing grouping and Aggressive Behavior could be explained by genetic influences.

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