Genetic and Environmental Influences on Parenting and Marital Relationships: Current Findings and Future Directions

Hilary Towers, Erica L. Spotts, Jenae M. Neiderhiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


There have been an increasing number of studies that have examined genetic influences on measures of family relationships, which have typically been conceptualized as environmental. These measures include parenting, sibling relationships, marital relationships and divorce. The current review discusses these findings and presents newly emerging results that suggest the mechanisms that may be involved, at least in mother-child relationships. The best way to understand how genetic factors can influences “environmental” measures is through genotype-environment correlation. The different types of genotype-environment correlation that are likely to be operating in each type of relationship are described and the implications of these findings are discussed. Finally, new studies that are currently underway are described including a longitudinal study of family relationships that is currently collecting DNA in an effort to better disentangle genotype-environment correlations and interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-29
Number of pages19
JournalMarriage and Family Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 6 2003


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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