Influence of parental depressive symptoms on adopted toddler behaviors: An emerging developmental cascade of genetic and environmental effects

Caroline K. Pemberton, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, Leslie D. Leve, Misaki N. Natsuaki, Daniel S. Shaw, David Reiss, Xiaojia Ge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined the developmental cascade of both genetic and environmental influences on toddlers' behavior problems through the longitudinal and multigenerational assessment of psychosocial risk. We used data from the Early Growth and Development Study, a prospective adoption study, to test the intergenerational transmission of risk through the assessment of adoptive mother, adoptive father, and biological parent depressive symptoms on toddler behavior problems. Given that depression is often chronic, we control for across-time continuity and find that in addition to associations between adoptive mother depressive symptoms and toddler externalizing problems, adoptive father depressive symptoms when the child is 9 months of age were associated with toddler problems and associated with maternal depressive symptoms. Findings also indicated that a genetic effect may indirectly influence toddler problems through prenatal pregnancy risk. These findings help to describe how multiple generations are linked through genetic (biological parent), timing (developmental age of the child), and contextual (marital partner) pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)803-818
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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