A genetically informed study of associations between family functioning and child psychosocial adjustment

Alice C. Schermerhorn, Brian M. D'Onofrio, Eric Turkheimer, Jody M. Ganiban, Erica L. Spotts, Paul Lichtenstein, David Reiss, Jenae M. Neiderhiser

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Abstract

Research has documented associations between family functioning and offspring psychosocial adjustment, but questions remain regarding whether these associations are partly due to confounding genetic factors and other environmental factors. The current study used a genetically informed approach, the Children of Twins design, to explore the associations between family functioning (family conflict, marital quality, and agreement about parenting) and offspring psychopathology. Participants were 867 twin pairs (388 monozygotic; 479 dizygotic) from the Twin and Offspring Study in Sweden, their spouses, and children (51.7% female; M = 15.75 years). The results suggested associations between exposure to family conflict (assessed by the mother, father, and child) and child adjustment were independent of genetic factors and other environmental factors. However, when family conflict was assessed using only children's reports, the results indicated that genetic factors also influenced these associations. In addition, the analyses indicated that exposure to low marital quality and agreement about parenting was associated with children's internalizing and externalizing problems and that genetic factors also contributed to the associations of marital quality and agreement about parenting with offspring externalizing problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-725
Number of pages19
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume47
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2011

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

Cite this

Schermerhorn, A. C., D'Onofrio, B. M., Turkheimer, E., Ganiban, J. M., Spotts, E. L., Lichtenstein, P., Reiss, D., & Neiderhiser, J. M. (2011). A genetically informed study of associations between family functioning and child psychosocial adjustment. Developmental psychology, 47(3), 707-725. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021362