The Early Growth and Development Study: Using the Prospective Adoption Design to Examine Genotype–Environment Interplay

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Behavior Genetics (Impact Factor: 3.21). 04/2010; 40(3):306-14. DOI: 10.1007/s10519-010-9353-1
Source: PubMed


The Early Growth and Development Study (EGDS) is a prospective adoption design consisting of 360 linked sets of birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted children followed from 3 months postpartum through child age 7 years and an additional 200 linked sets for whom recruitment is underway. The EGDS brings together the study of genotype-environment correlation and Genotype x Environment (G x E) interaction to inform intervention development by examining mechanisms whereby family processes mediate or moderate the expression of genetic influences. Participants in the EGDS are recruited through domestic adoption agencies located throughout the United States of America. The assessments occur at 6-month intervals until child age 4-(1/2) years and at ages 6 and 7, when the children are in their 1st and 2nd years of formal schooling (kindergarten and first grade). The data collection includes measures of child characteristics, birth and adoptive parent characteristics, adoptive parenting, prenatal exposure to drugs and maternal stress, birth parent and adopted child salivary cortisol reactivity, and DNA from all participants. The preliminary analyses suggest evidence for GxE interaction beginning in infancy. An intervention perspective on future developments in the field of behavioral genetics is described.

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    • "A strength of the current study is the ability to examine longterm outcomes for adopted children involved in CLAS at 14 years post adoption. Results suggest the importance of the family environment on adopted children's outcomes and support the gene–environment model of ADHD aetiology (Leve et al. 2010b). Contrary to earlier research (Mick et al. 2002; McGuiness et al. 2005), this study found no significant relationships between birthweight and ADHD symptomatology . "
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    ABSTRACT: Positive family environments are crucial in promoting children's emotional and behavioural well-being, and may also buffer development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD is highly heritable, but psychosocial factors in the family environment, particularly family cohesion and communication, may mediate genetic predispositions. The purpose of the current study is to examine the mediating influence of the adoptive family environment between pre-adoptive risk factors and youths' ADHD symptomatology at 14 years post adoption. The data used in this study were obtained from the fourth wave of the California Long-Range Adoption Study (CLAS) (n = 449). Using structural equation modelling (SEM), family sense of coherence and family adaptability were tested as possible mediators between environmental and biological predictors and ADHD symptomatology. Predictors included birthweight, gender, age at adoption, adoption from foster care, transracial adoption status, ethnicity and having a previous diagnosis of ADHD. Results show that, while adoption from foster care is negatively associated with family functioning, higher family cohesion and adaptability mediate this influence on children's ADHD symptomatology. Older age of adoption directly predicts greater ADHD symptoms with no mediating influence of the family environment. The mediating influence of the family environment between children's risk factors and ADHD symptoms suggests that family intervention strategies may be helpful in improving adopted children's outcomes. Once children are adopted, targeting family communication patterns and dynamics may be an additional part of developing an evidence-based, post-adoption services toolkit.
    Child Care Health and Development 10/2013; 40(6). DOI:10.1111/cch.12112 · 1.69 Impact Factor
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    • "Although the present sample of 121 birth fathers is the largest sample assessed in an adoption design, and their inclusion permitted a supplementary examination of the expressed effects of the genome as transmitted from birth father (and generally replicated the effects from the birth mother models), the birth father sample size was underpowered to detect genetic effects. We are currently assessing a second cohort of families (n = 200) using the same assessment protocols as the present study (Leve et al., 2010). This will ultimately provide greater power to examine potential sex-linked patterns of association. "
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    ABSTRACT: Poor executive functioning has been implicated in children's concurrent and future behavioral difficulties, making work aimed at understanding processes related to the development of early executive function (EF) critical for models of developmental psychopathology. Deficits in EF have been associated with adverse prenatal experiences, genetic influences, and temperament characteristics. However, our ability to disentangle the predictive and independent effects of these influences has been limited by a dearth of genetically informed research designs that also consider prenatal influences. The present study examined EF and language development in a sample of 361 toddlers who were adopted at birth and reared in nonrelative adoptive families. Predictors included genetic influences (as inherited from birth mothers), prenatal risk, and growth in child negative emotionality. Structural equation modeling indicated that the effect of prenatal risk on toddler effortful attention at age 27 months became nonsignificant once genetic influences were considered in the model. In addition, genetic influences had unique effects on toddler effortful attention. Latent growth modeling indicated that increases in toddler negative emotionality from 9 to 27 months were associated with poorer delay of gratification and poorer language development. Similar results were obtained in models incorporating birth father data. Mechanisms of intergenerational transmission of EF deficits are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
    Developmental Psychology 07/2012; 49(6). DOI:10.1037/a0029390 · 3.21 Impact Factor
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    • "Although comparable in demographic characteristics to adoptive families from the only other large-scale prospective adoption study (i.e., The Colorado Adoption Project; DeFries, Plomin, & Fulker, 1994), the families in the present study likely differed in some respects from biological families (Ceballo, Lansford, Abbey, & Stewart, 2004; Fergusson , Lynskey, & Horwood, 1995). For example, whereas family size and levels of anxiety and depression are similar for adoptive and biological families (Leve et al., 2007), adoptive parents have higher socioeconomic status (Kreider, 2003; Leve et al., 2008) and lower levels of antisocial behavior (Cloninger, Sigvardsson, Bohman, & von Knorring, 1982). Furthermore, evidence of racial ⁄ ethnic and cultural differences in how parents manage and perceive their children's sleep (Liu, Liu, Owens, & Kaplan, 2005; Milan, Snow, & Belay, 2007) highlights the importance of examining marital instability and child sleep problems in more diverse samples. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the longitudinal association between marital instability and child sleep problems at ages 9 and 18 months in 357 families with a genetically unrelated infant adopted at birth. This design eliminates shared genes as an explanation for similarities between parent and child. Structural equation modeling indicated that T1 marital instability predicted T2 child sleep problems, but T1 child sleep problems did not predict T2 marital instability. This result was replicated when models were estimated separately for mothers and fathers. Thus, even after controlling for stability in sleep problems and marital instability and eliminating shared genetic influences on associations using a longitudinal adoption design, marital instability prospectively predicts early childhood sleep patterns.
    Child Development 05/2011; 82(4):1252-66. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01594.x · 4.92 Impact Factor
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