Prominent scholars have theorized that psychosocial moderation of genetic influences (referred to as gene-environment interactions;GxE) represents a fundamental etiologic component in child conduct problems (CP;aggressive and rule-breaking behaviors). Even so, only a handful of empirical studies have examined these processes to date. Though these seminal studies have provided provocative support for GxE in CP, additional work is needed to more fully flesh out their role. For example, though there is strong evidence within the animal literature that normal-range parenting serves as a potent moderator of genetic influences on offspring outcomes, most GxE research to date has focused on extreme environmental pathogens such as child maltreatment. Thus, although they are likely to be important, we know very little about the role of non-abusive, but still dysfunctional, parent- child relationships in moderating genetic influences on child CP. The role of protective relationships in suppressing genetic influences for child CP has also been largely overlooked, despite its oft- discussed prevention implications. Finally, few studies have controlled for gene-environment correlations (rGE), or non-random exposure to particular environmental experiences, a fundamental confound in GxE research. For example, if negative interpersonal relationships stem in part from genes common to CP, then the potentiation of genetic influences at high levels of "environmental" risk could be a reflection of rGE processes, rather than true GxE. The proposed research seeks to address these limitations, bringing together several unique elements to integrate the genetic and psychosocial mechanisms underlying child CP across multiple levels of analysis. The sample will consist of 500 community-based, same-sex twin pairs and their parent(s), a design that enables us to evaluate the moderating roles of both protective and risky parent-child relationships. Analyses will sequentially combine both quantitative and molecular genetic GxE approaches, as well as control for possible rGE, thereby overcoming most methodology-specific limitations and confounds. Our investigation thus combines state-of-the-art ideas and methods to examine GxE in CP, and accordingly, has the potential to significantly advance our understanding of the origins of child conduct problems. PROJECT NARRATIVE Prominent scholars have theorized that gene-environment interactions (GxE;psychosocial moderation of genetic influences) represent a fundamental component of the origin of child conduct problems (CP;aggressive and rule-breaking behaviors), though we know little about them as of yet. This proposal intends to comprehensively explore GxE in child CP, evaluating how risky and protective parent-child relationships may activate or suppress genetic influences on child CP. Such findings should ultimately provide information for more effective individually-tailored interventions aimed at the amelioration of child CP.

Public Health Relevance

Prominent scholars have theorized that gene-environment interactions (GxE;psychosocial moderation of genetic influences) represent a fundamental component of the origin of child conduct problems (CP;aggressive and rule-breaking behaviors), though we know little about them as of yet. This proposal intends to comprehensively explore GxE in child CP, evaluating how risky and protective parent-child relationships may activate or suppress genetic influences on child CP. Such findings should ultimately provide information for more effective individually-tailored interventions aimed at the amelioration of child CP.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
3R01MH081813-05S1
Application #
8641741
Study Section
Behavioral Genetics and Epidemiology Study Section (BGES)
Program Officer
Zehr, Julia L
Project Start
2008-07-01
Project End
2013-11-05
Budget Start
2013-05-07
Budget End
2013-11-05
Support Year
5
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$84,066
Indirect Cost
$27,212
Name
Michigan State University
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
193247145
City
East Lansing
State
MI
Country
United States
Zip Code
48824
Nikolas, Molly A; Klump, Kelly L; Burt, S Alexandra (2015) Parental involvement moderates etiological influences on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder behaviors in child twins. Child Dev 86:224-40
Burt, S Alexandra; Klahr, Ashlea M; Klump, Kelly L (2015) Do non-shared environmental influences persist over time? An examination of days and minutes. Behav Genet 45:24-34
Burt, S A; Klump, K L (2014) Prosocial peer affiliation suppresses genetic influences on non-aggressive antisocial behaviors during childhood. Psychol Med 44:821-30
Klahr, Ashlea M; Klump, Kelly L; Burt, S Alexandra (2014) The etiology of the association between child antisocial behavior and maternal negativity varies across aggressive and non-aggressive rule-breaking forms of antisocial behavior. J Abnorm Child Psychol 42:1299-311
Alexandra Burt, S; Klahr, Ashlea M; Neale, Michael C et al. (2013) Maternal warmth and directiveness jointly moderate the etiology of childhood conduct problems. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 54:1030-7
Klahr, Ashlea M; Thomas, Katherine M; Hopwood, Christopher J et al. (2013) Evocative gene-environment correlation in the mother-child relationship: a twin study of interpersonal processes. Dev Psychopathol 25:105-18
Burt, S Alexandra; Klump, Kelly L (2013) The Michigan State University Twin Registry (MSUTR): an update. Twin Res Hum Genet 16:344-50
Burt, S A; Klump, K L (2013) Delinquent peer affiliation as an etiological moderator of childhood delinquency. Psychol Med 43:1269-78
Nikolas, Molly; Klump, Kelly L; Burt, S Alexandra (2013) Etiological contributions to the covariation between children's perceptions of inter-parental conflict and child behavioral problems. J Abnorm Child Psychol 41:239-51
Humbad, Mikhila N; Donnellan, M Brent; Klump, Kelly L et al. (2011) Development of the Brief Romantic Relationship Interaction Coding Scheme (BRRICS). J Fam Psychol 25:759-69