Chapter

Genetic Influences on Temperament in Early Adolescence

Jeffrey R. Gagne, Kimberly J. Saudino and Stacey S. Cherny

in Nature, Nurture, and the Transition to Early Adolescence

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195157475
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199848065 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157475.003.0011
Genetic Influences on                         Temperament in Early Adolescence

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Although twin studies of infant and child temperament consistently yield evidence of moderate genetic influences, adoption studies do not. For example, in the Colorado Adoption Project (CAP), genetically related non-adoptive siblings were no more similar for parent-rated temperament than genetically unrelated adoptive siblings. However, most twin and adoption research exploring genetic factors underlying temperament during infancy and early childhood has relied on parent-rating scales, which may be susceptible to contrast effects wherein the differences between siblings may be exaggerated. Because contrast effects reduce the similarity of non-adoptive and adoptive siblings, adoption studies that use parent-rating measures may underestimate heritability. This chapter investigates changes in heritability across age and examines genetic and environmental factors underlying continuity and change in temperament during early adolescence in the CAP. To date, most of the research on continuity and change in temperament has focused on infancy and early childhood and suggests that genetic influences remain stable or increase with age. This study tested whether the patterns would hold true for a sample of early adolescents.

Keywords: Colorado Adoption Project; temperament; genetic factors; heritability; environmental factors; early adolescence; adolescents; adoptive siblings; non-adoptive siblings

Chapter.  7044 words. 

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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