Disadvantaged neighborhoods and adolescent aggression: Behavioral genetic evidence of contextual effects

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This study used behavioral genetic methods to examine differences in genetic and environmental influences on adolescent aggression across adequate and disadvantaged neighborhoods. Analyses used National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health data from 2,342 monozygotic twin, dizygotic twin, full-sibling, and half-sibling pairs classified into structurally adequate and disadvantaged neighborhoods according to Census data on the proportion of single-parent households with children, proportion of families in poverty, and unemployment levels in sibling pairs' block groups. Separately estimating genetic and environmental influences across adequate and disadvantaged neighborhoods revealed that although genetic influences are significant in both adequate and disadvantaged neighborhoods, shared environmental influences (e.g., family influences shared by siblings) were significant only among adolescents from disadvantaged neighborhoods. These results provide insight into differences in individual-level influences that contribute to adolescent aggression within these different types of neighborhoods. Significant shared environmental influences in disadvantaged neighborhoods suggest the importance of family processes is increased by neighborhood disadvantage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-238
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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