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Mitchell et al. find harsh family environments may magnify disadvantage via impact on 'genetic architecture'

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PSC newsletter spring 2014 issue now available

Kusunoki wins faculty seed grant award from Institute for Research on Women and Gender

2014 PAA Annual Meeting, May 1-3, Boston

USN&WR ranks Michigan among best in nation for graduate education in sociology, public health, economics

Next Brown Bag

Monday, April 21
Grant Miller: Managerial Incentives in Public Service Delivery

psc brown bag iconFamily Instability, Genes, and Children’s Externalizing Behavior

Colter Mitchell (Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, Princeton University)

02/13/2012, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.

This study examines whether the relationship between biological-parent relationship stability and children’s externalizing behavior is moderated by child’s genetic make-up. Based on biological susceptibility theory, we hypothesize that children with particular gene variants are more responsive to changes in family structure than children without such variants. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we find that both serotonergic and dopaminergic genes interact with biological-father residential change to influence trajectories in child’s externalizing behaviors. Children with more reactive genotypes experience a greater benefit to their father entering the household than other children; they also experience a greater cost to their father exiting the household. These gene-social environment interactions are stronger when they occur in early childhood, and they are more pronounced for boys than for girls. The findings suggest that including biological information in our models of social phenomena can improve our understanding of the latter.


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