1994-2001 current publications

Developmental Psychology 2000; 36:429-437.

Are associations between parental divorce and children’s adjustment genetically mediated?

O’Connor, T.G., Caspi, A., DeFries, J.C., & Plomin, R.P.

The hypothesis that the association between parental divorce and children’s adjustment was mediated partly by genetic factors was examined. Children in biological families who experienced their parents’ divorce or separation by age 12 years exhibited higher rates of behavioral/emotional problems and substance use, and lower levels of achievement and social adjustment difficulties compared with children whose parents’ marriage remained intact. For adopted children, this finding was replicated for behavioral/emotional problems and substance abuse but not for achievement and social adjustment, suggesting an environmentally mediated explanation for the association between parent divorce and children’s adjustment but a partly genetically mediated explanation for the achievement and social development outcomes.

Division of Substance Dependence