Maternal expressed emotion predicts children's antisocial behavior problems: using monozygotic-twin differences to identify environmental effects on behavioral development.
ABSTRACT If maternal expressed emotion is an environmental risk factor for children's antisocial behavior problems, it should account for behavioral differences between siblings growing up in the same family even after genetic influences on children's behavior problems are taken into account. This hypothesis was tested in the Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study with a nationally representative 1994-1995 birth cohort of twins. The authors interviewed the mothers of 565 five-year-old monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs and established which twin in each family received more negative emotional expression and which twin received more warmth. Within MZ pairs, the twin receiving more maternal negativity and less warmth had more antisocial behavior problems. Qualitative interviews were used to generate hypotheses about why mothers treat their children differently. The results suggest that maternal emotional attitudes toward children may play a causal role in the development of antisocial behavior and illustrate how genetically informative research can inform tests of socialization hypotheses.
Article: The caregiving environments provided to children by depressed mothers with or without an antisocial history.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Many depressed women have a history of antisocial behavior, but research into maternal depression has not ascertained if this has implications for children of depressed mothers. This study compared the developmental outcomes in and caregiving environments provided to children by depressed mothers with or without an antisocial history. In the Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally representative study of 1,106 families, mothers were administered the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Major Depressive Disorder and interviewed about their lifetime history of antisocial personality disorder symptoms. Mothers and teachers provided information regarding the children's behavior problems at 5 and 7 years of age. The authors assessed the quality of the caregiving environment through maternal reports and interviewer observations. Compared with children of mothers with depression only, the children of depressed and antisocial mothers had significantly higher levels of antisocial behavior and rates of DSM-IV conduct disorder, even after the authors controlled for numbers of symptoms and chronicity of maternal major depressive disorder. The children of depressed and antisocial mothers were at an elevated risk of experiencing multiple caregiving abuses, including physical maltreatment, high levels of maternal hostility, and exposure to domestic violence. If one ignores the common co-occurrence of an antisocial history in depressed mothers, it may obscure the significantly elevated risks in children's development. Clinicians treating women's depression should be aware that children of depressed and antisocial mothers constitute a group at extremely high risk for early-onset psychopathology.American Journal of Psychiatry 07/2006; 163(6):1009-18. · 12.54 Impact Factor
Article: Childhood adversity and psychosis: Examining whether the association is due to genetic confounding using a monozygotic twin differences approach.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: To test whether the association between childhood adversity and positive and negative psychotic experiences is due to genetic confounding. METHOD: Childhood adversity and psychotic experiences were assessed in an ongoing sample of 226 twins from the general population. A monozygotic (MZ) twin differences approach was used to assess possible genetic confounding. RESULTS: In the whole sample, childhood adversity was significantly associated with positive (β=45; SE=0.16; P=0.008) and negative psychotic experiences (β=0.77; SE=0.18; P<0.01). Within-pair MZ twin differences in exposure to childhood adversity were significantly associated with differences in positive (β=71; SE=0.29; P=0.016) and negative psychotic experiences (β=98; SE=0.38; P=0.014) in a subsample of 85 MZ twin pairs. CONCLUSIONS: Individuals exposed to childhood adversity are more likely to report psychotic experiences. Furthermore, our findings indicate that this association is not due to genetic confounding.European Psychiatry 08/2012; · 2.77 Impact Factor
Article: Does the cortisol response to stress mediate the link between expressed emotion and oppositional behavior in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity-Disorder (ADHD)?[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Expressed Emotions (EE) are associated with oppositional behavior (OPB) in children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). EE has been linked to altered stress responses in some disorders, but ADHD has not been studied. We test the hypothesis that OPB in ADHD is mediated by altered stress-related cortisol reactivity to EE. Two groups of children (with/without ADHD) and their respective parents were randomly assigned to two different conditions with/without negative emotion and participated in an emotion provocation task. Parents' EE, their ratings of their children's OPB and their children's salivary cortisol levels were measured. Low parental warmth was associated with OPB in ADHD. High levels of parental EE elicited a larger cortisol response. Stress-related cortisol reactivity mediated the EE-OPB link for all children. This highlights the general importance of parent-child interactions on externalizing behavior problems. High EE is a salient stressor for ADHD children that leads to increased levels of cortisol and OPB. The development of OPB might be mediated by the stress-response to high EE.Behavioral and Brain Functions 01/2010; 6:45. · 2.13 Impact Factor