Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2003; 44:849-856.
Genotype-environment interaction in children’s adjustment to parental
O’Connor, T.G., Caspi, A., DeFries, J.C., & Plomin, R.
By age 12 years, 23 of the 171 adoptees on whom this analyses was based
had experienced a separation in the adoptive home. Correlation and regression
analyses indicated that the association between genetic risk and child adjustment
was moderated by parental separation. In the absence of parental separation,
genetic risk was uncorrelated with adoptee adjustment; however, there were
substantial and significant associations between individual differences
in genetic influence and poor adjustment among the adoptees who experienced
parental separation. Genetic vulnerability is accentuated by major psychosocial
stresses, and this may partly explain the wide individual differences in
children’s adjustment to family transitions.