Navigation Links
Wayne State researcher finds possible clue to children's early antisocial behavior

DETROIT - Both nature and nurture appear to be significant factors in early antisocial behaviors of adopted children, a Wayne State University researcher believes.

Christopher Trentacosta, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, recently examined data from 361 linked triads (birth mother, adoptive parents, adopted child) in order to assess externalizing behavioral problems such as aggression and defiance when children were 18, 27 and 54 months of age.

The triads were part of the Early Growth and Development Study (EGDS), a nationwide, prospective study of birth parents and adoptive families that is supported by grants from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Mental Health all part of the National Institutes of Health to Trentacosta's colleagues at the Oregon Social Learning Center and the Pennsylvania State University. The EGDS is aimed at investigating how families can help their children develop to their fullest potential.

In "Examining the Interplay of Birth Mothers' and Adoptive Parents' Antisocial Behavior in Predicting Growth in Externalizing Problems During Early Childhood," adoptive parents' antisocial behavior played an important role in the development of children's externalizing problems. His study was presented at the 2012 meeting of the Behavior Genetics Association in Edinburgh, Scotland.

That finding may not come as a surprise to researchers who have studied environmental precursors to such behavior. However, Trentacosta said a great deal of other research that examined sets of twins holds that genetic factors play a role as well.

Part of the problem with environmental studies, he said, is that the people providing the parenting are the same ones providing the genes. Using an adoption design, Trentacosta said, allows researchers to disentangle genetics from environmental influences by collecting data from both birth and adoptive parents.

His team found that adoptive parents reporting on their own antisocial behaviors predicted children's initial level of externalizing at 18 months, suggesting a direct environmental connection.

"That can be tricky, however, because it is those same parents reporting on the child's behavior," Trentacosta said, "so we aggregated both parents' reports to increase confidence somewhat. But even with the reporting limitation, there is something to be said for the environmental piece, at least initially."

His team's main finding is that there is an interaction between birth mother characteristics and adoptive parent antisocial behavior that is especially problematic for growth in externalizing behavior problems across early childhood.

"Compared to birth mothers with lower levels of antisocial behavior, children of birth mothers with higher levels of antisocial behavior showed steep growth in externalizing problems when raised by adoptive parents with higher levels of antisocial behavior," Trentacosta said. "Both genetic characteristics and environment matter, but it's especially the combination of the two that seems to make a difference over time."

Trentacosta believes further study of the next age group, 54 to 72 months, may help to better determine the most salient predictors of externalizing behavior levels by the time children reach school age.

Previous research has shown that such behaviors typically decrease across the preschool years and as children transition to elementary school. A logical next step, he said, would be to assess behavior levels from the cohort used in his work as the children get older to obtain a more complete picture of how genetic and environmental considerations play out across development.

"Behaviors that start out at fairly normative levels but still more than most can cause problems for children as they get to school age," Trentacosta said. "For prevention purposes, it's helpful if we can identify these children earlier and possibly get extra help for these families."


Contact: Julie O'Connor
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research

Related medicine news :

1. Wayne State University researcher examines proteins role in diabetic retinopathy
2. Wayne State University researcher seeks to understand link between obesity, flu severity
3. Algae extract increases good cholesterol levels, Wayne State research finds
4. Wayne State develops better understanding of memory retrieval between children and adults
5. Wayne State research team finds possible clue to progression of MS
6. Wayne State researchers say adolescent smoking prevention programs still critical
7. Wayne State University researcher recognized by American Psychological Association
8. CDC funds Wayne State University research to understand, prevent teen dating violence
9. Study reveals how cancer drug causes diabetic-like state
10. New drug prevents spread of human prostate cancer cells
11. 2 genetic deletions in human genome linked to the development of aggressive prostate cancer
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... ... For the first time, Vitalalert is donating half of its earnings to ... between the two groups began in 2014 with Vitalalert pledging a portion of every ... founded in 1954 and is an international Christian-based health organization whose mission is to ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... On November 25, 2015, ... for the Narconon network, announced the release of a new cutting edge recovery program ... organization has been working with drug- and alcohol-addicted individuals with the purpose to free ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... ... Smiles by Stevens is pleased to announce the addition of Botox® for ... aware of the benefits of Botox® in the treatment of moderate facial wrinkling, few ... and pain as a result of Jaw Tension, TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint) disorder, and Bruxism ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... , ... In an ongoing Clinical Study conducted by an independent physician, Andrew ... is evaluating the efficacy of its product and its disinfection protocol. This study is ... May 2014 through October 2015 at a 360-bed, acute-care, academic medical center located in ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... the nation’s Periwinkle Pioneers, individuals and groups responsible for advancing care for pulmonary ... Periwinkle Pioneers, nominated by the public, will receive special recognition throughout 2016 as ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN ) today announced that ... York State Attorney General,s Office to end the ... statutes with the Attorney General over the decision of Forest ... selling the now generic version of memantine immediate release tablets.  ... released its counterclaims against New York , ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN ), a ... start-up  biotechnology company focused on the development of ... by the F-Prime Biomedical Research Initiative (FBRI), today ... collaboration to support the discovery and development of ... Obsessive Compulsive disorders (OCD). ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 --> ... devices was valued at $11,171.1 million in 2014, and ... 5.7% during 2015 - 2022. The global market is ... of diabetes. In addition, the increase in obese population ... to the growth of the market. Furthermore, technological advancements ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: