The genetic and environmental influences on problem behaviors at two assessment points, three years apart, and their stability were studied in a sample of international adoptees, initially aged 10 to 15 years. Parents of 111 pairs of adopted biological siblings, 221 pairs of adopted nonbiological siblings and 1484 adopted singletons completed the Child Behavior Checklist (75 pairs, 154 pairs and 1080 singletons respectively at second assessment). At first assessment, genetic factors accounted for more than 50% of the variance in the Externalizing, Aggressive Behavior, Attention Problems and Social Problems scales. Shared environmental influences explained 40% of the variance in the Total Problem scale and less for all other scales. Nonshared environmental influences were most important for the Internalizing scale and its subscales, and for the Thought Problems and Delinquent Behavior scales. At the second assessment, genetic factors explained most of the variance in the Total Problem, Externalizing and Aggressive Behavior scales, while nonshared environmental influences explained most of the variance in all other scales. Shared environmental influences explained 33% of the variance in the Internalizing scale and less for the other scales. The stability of the Externalizing scale over time was caused mostly by genetic factors, while nonshared environmental factors mostly caused the stability of the Internalizing scale.

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Behavior Genetics
Pediatric Psychiatry

van der Valk, J., Verhulst, F., Neale, M., & Boomsma, D. (1998). Longitudinal genetic analysis of problem behaviors in biologically related and unrelated adoptees. Behavior Genetics, 28(5), 365–380. doi:10.1023/A:1021621719059