To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
While converging evidence suggests that both environmental and genetic factors underlie variations in diurnal cortisol, the extent to which these sources of influence vary according to socioeconomic status (SES) has seldom been investigated, particularly in adolescence. To investigate whether a distinct genetic and environmental contribution to youth’s diurnal cortisol secretion emerges according to family SES and whether the timing of these experiences matters. Participants were 592 twin pairs, who mostly came from middle-income and intact families and for whom SES was measured in childhood and adolescence. Diurnal cortisol was assessed at age 14 at awakening, 30 min later, in the afternoon and evening over four nonconsecutive days. SES–cortisol phenotypic associations were specific to the adolescence period. Specifically, higher awakening cortisol levels were detected in wealthier backgrounds, whereas higher cortisol awakening response (CAR) and diurnal changes were present at both ends of the SES continuum. Moreover, smaller genetic contributions emerged for awakening cortisol in youth from poorer compared to wealthier backgrounds. The results suggest that the relative contribution of inherited factors to awakening cortisol secretion may be enhanced or suppressed depending on the socio-family context, which may help to decipher the mechanisms underlying later adjustment.
This paper is a revised and updated edition of a previous description of the Quebec Newborn Twin Study (QNTS), an ongoing prospective longitudinal follow-up of a birth cohort of twins born between 1995 and 1998 in the greater Montreal area, Québec, Canada. The goal of QNTS is to document individual differences in the cognitive, behavioral, and social-emotional aspects of developmental health across childhood, their early genetic and environmental determinants, as well as their putative role in later social-emotional adjustment, school, health, and occupational outcomes. A total of 662 families of twins were initially assessed when the twins were aged 6 months. These twins and their family were then followed regularly. QNTS now has 16 waves of data collected or planned, including 5 in preschool. Over the last 24 years, a broad range of physiological, cognitive, behavioral, school, and health phenotypes were documented longitudinally through multi-informant and multimethod measurements. QNTS also entails extended and detailed multilevel assessments of proximal (e.g., parenting behaviors, peer relationships) and distal (e.g., family income) features of the child’s environment. QNTS children and a subset of their parents have been genotyped, allowing for the computation of a variety of polygenic scores. This detailed longitudinal information makes QNTS uniquely suited for the study of the role of the early years and gene–environment transactions in development.
Our aim was to assess whether infants influence the quantity and quality of their mothers’ speech to them and, in turn, whether this maternal speech influences children's later language. As 189 mothers interacted with each of their twins at age 0;5, we calculated the number of utterances, the proportion of sensitive utterances, and the proportion of self-repeated utterances they produced. We later assessed the twins’ language comprehension and production when they were 1;6, 2;6, and 5;2. Quantity of maternal speech predicted child language at 5;2, whereas sensitivity predicted child language at 2;6 and 5;2 and partial self-repetition predicted child language at 1;6. Conversely, sensitivity and partial self-repetition in maternal speech at 0;5 were associated with genetic factors from the child, indicating that infant characteristics influence the quality of maternal speech. Overall, our findings stress the importance of considering both directions in the association between maternal speech and child characteristics.
Using a longitudinal twin design and a latent growth curve/autoregressive approach, this study examined the genetic–environmental architecture of substance use across adolescence.
Self-reports of substance use (i.e. alcohol, marijuana) were collected at ages 13, 14, 15, and 17 years from 476 twin pairs (475 boys, 477 girls) living in the Province of Quebec, Canada. Substance use increased linearly across the adolescent years.
ACE modeling revealed that genetic, as well as shared and non-shared environmental factors explained the overall level of substance use and that these same factors also partly accounted for growth in substance use from age 13 to 17. Additional genetic factors predicted the growth in substance use. Finally, autoregressive effects revealed age-specific non-shared environmental influences and, to a lesser degree, age-specific genetic influences, which together accounted for the stability of substance use across adolescence.
The results support and expand the notion that genetic and environmental influences on substance use during adolescence are both developmentally stable and developmentally dynamic.
Multiple studies have shown that reading abilities and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, mainly inattention symptoms, are phenotypically and genetically associated during childhood. However, few studies have looked at these associations during adolescence to investigate possible developmental changes. The aim of the study is to examine the genetic and environmental etiology of the associations between inattention and hyperactivity reported by parents, and reading accuracy, reading speed, and word reading in a population-based twin sample (Quebec Newborn Twin Study). Participants were between 14 and 15 years of age at the time of testing (N = 668–837). Phenotypic results showed that when nonverbal and verbal abilities were controlled, inattention, but not hyperactivity/impulsivity, was a modest and significant predictor of reading accuracy, reading speed, and word reading. The associations between inattention and all reading abilities were partly explained by genetic and unique environmental factors. However, the genetic correlations were no longer significant after controlling for verbal abilities. In midadolescence, inattention is the attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder dimension associated with reading abilities, but they could also share genetic factors with general verbal skills.
We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.
Bidirectional pathways between twin relationship quality and friendship quality were investigated in a large longitudinal twin cohort. We examined negative and positive relationship features in 313 monozygotic (MZ) twins and 238 same-sex dizygotic (DZ) twins from ages 13 to 14 years, using latent structural modeling. Results showed stronger stability of the twin relationship quality compared to friendship quality. Positive features in the sibling relationship were associated with increased positive features in the relationship with the best friend a year later. In contrast, no significant association between negative sibling relationship features and change in negative friendship quality features was found. These findings speak to the important role of the sibling relationship in the development of good quality friendship relations in twins.
The study examined whether reciprocal friendship quantity or quality can mitigate genetic vulnerability for depression symptoms in children. The sample comprised 168 monozygotic twin pairs and 126 same-sex dizygotic twin pairs assessed in Grade 4 (mean age = 10.04 years). Friendship participation was measured via reciprocal nominations of close friendships within the classroom. Friendship quality was measured through self-reports. Depression symptoms were measured through teacher and peer reports. Genetic vulnerability for depression symptoms was unrelated to friendship participation or the number of reciprocal friends, but it was negatively related to positive friendship quality. In line with gene–environment interaction, genetic risk effects on depression symptoms were mitigated in girls who had at least one close reciprocal friend. In boys, only moderate main effects of genetic vulnerability and friendship participation were found but no interaction between them. However, among boys with at least one reciprocal friend, a greater number of friends was related to fewer depression symptoms whereas no cumulative effect of friendship was found for girls. Finally, positive friendship quality was related to fewer depression symptoms in girls and boys even when controlling for genetic risk. The findings emphasize the importance of teaching social interactional skills that promote high-quality friendship relations to help prevent the development of depression symptoms in children.
Early disruptive behaviors, such as aggressive and hyperactive behaviors, known to be influenced by genetic factors, have been found to predict early school peer relation difficulties, such as peer rejection and victimization. However, there is no consensus regarding the developmental processes underlying this predictive association. Genetically informative designs, such as twin studies, are well suited for investigating the underlying genetic and environmental etiology of this association. The main goal of the present study was to examine the possible establishment of an emerging gene–environment correlation linking disruptive behaviors to peer relationship difficulties during the first years of school. Participants were drawn from an ongoing longitudinal study of twins who were assessed with respect to their social behaviors and their peer relation difficulties in kindergarten and in Grade 1 through peer nominations measures and teacher ratings. As predicted, disruptive behaviors were concurrently and predictively associated with peer relation difficulties. Multivariate analyses of these associations indicate that they were mainly accounted for by genetic factors. These results emphasize the need to adopt an early and persistent prevention framework targeting both the child and the peer context to alleviate the establishment of a negative coercive process and its consequences.
The Quebec Newborn Twin Study (QNTS) is an ongoing prospective longitudinal follow-up of a birth cohort of twins born between 1995 and 1998 in the greater Montreal area, Québec, Canada. The goal of QNTS is to document individual differences in the cognitive, behavioral, and social-emotional aspects of developmental health across childhood, their early bio-social determinants, as well as their putative role in later social-emotional adjustment, school and health outcomes. A total of 662 families of twins were initially assessed when the twins were aged 6 months. These twins and their family were then followed regularly. QNTS has 14 waves of data collected or planned, including 5 in preschool. Over the past 15 years, a broad range of physiological, cognitive, behavioral, school, and health phenotypes were documented longitudinally through multi-informant and multi-method measurements. QNTS also entails extended and detailed multi-level assessments of proximal (e.g., parenting behaviors, peer relationships) and distal (e.g., family income) features of the child's environment. This detailed longitudinal information makes QNTS uniquely suited for the study of the role of the early years and gene-environment transactions in development.
We report the heritability of response inhibition, latency, and variability, which are potential markers of genetic risk in neuropsychiatric conditions. Genetic and environmental influences on cancellation and restraint, response latency, and variability measured in a novel variant of the stop signal task were studied in 139 eight-year-old twin pairs from a birth cohort. Cancellation (50%), restraint (27%), and response latency (41%) showed significant heritability, the balance being non-shared environmental influences and/or error. Response variability was not heritable, with 23% of the variance attributable to shared environmental influences and 77% to non-shared environmental risk or error. The phenotypic correlation between response cancellation and restraint was −.44 and between response latency and restraint was .21. These phenotypic correlations were entirely genetic in origin. The phenotypic correlation between response variability and % successful inhibition was .27, but was not genetic. Cancellation and restraint were heritable and shared genetic influences, indicating that they may be influenced by a common gene or genes. Response latency was moderately heritable and shared genetic influences with restraint, but was not correlated with cancellation. Response variability was not heritable. These results support the potential of response inhibition and latency as endophenotypes in genetic research. (JINS, 2011, 17, 238–247)
Although peer victimization places children at serious risk for aggressive behavior, not all victimized children are aggressive. The diathesis–stress hypothesis of disease proposes that an environmental stressor such as peer victimization should to lead to maladjustment mostly in those individuals with preexisting genetic vulnerabilities. Accordingly, this study examined whether the link between peer victimization and child aggression is moderated by children's genetic risk for such behavior. Using a sample of 506 6-year-old twins, peer victimization was assessed through peer nominations and aggressive behavior was assessed through peer and teacher reports. Children's genetic risk for aggression was estimated as a function of their co-twin's aggression and the pair's zygosity. Genetic modeling showed that peer victimization is an environmentally driven variable that is unrelated to children's genetic disposition. Results also provided support for the notion of a gene–environment interaction between peer victimization and child's genetic risk for aggressive behavior, albeit only in girls. For boys, peer victimization was related to aggression regardless of the child's genetic risk for such behavior. Different socialization experiences in girls' compared to boys' peer groups may explain the different pattern of results for girls and boys.
The relation of lexical and grammatical knowledge is at the core of many
controversies in linguistics and psycholinguistics. Recent empirical
findings that the two are highly correlated in early language development
have further energized the theoretical debate. Behavioural genetics
provides an illuminating new tool to explore this question, by addressing
the question of whether the empirical correlation simply reflects the fact
that environments which facilitate one aspect of language growth also
facilitate the other, or whether the same underlying acquisition
mechanisms, influenced by the same genes, are responsible for the
correlation. We explored this issue in a study of 2898 pairs of two-year-old
twins born in England and Wales. Language development was
assessed by their parents using an adapted version of the MacArthur
Communicative Development Inventory which assesses vocabulary and
grammar. Moderate heritabilities were found for both. As in previous
studies, measures of vocabulary and sentence complexity were substantially
correlated (r = 0·66). Behaviour-genetic modelling of the
relation of vocabulary and grammar produced an estimated value of 0·61
for the genetic correlation, a measure of the overlap of the genetic effects
that contribute to the two aspects of language development. In contrast,
a measure of nonverbal cognitive development, the PARCA, was only
weakly correlated at both the phenotypic level and at the level of genetic
correlations with the language measures. Thus, although the distinction
between verbal and nonverbal skills has a genetic basis underlying the
phenotypic dissociation, there is little evidence either genetically or
phenotypically for a dissociation between vocabulary and grammar
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.