Early risk for child externalising symptoms: Examining genetic, prenatal, temperamental and parental influences

Sohee Lee, Olivia C. Robertson, Kristine Marceau, Valerie S. Knopik, Misaki N. Natsuaki, Daniel S. Shaw, Leslie D. Leve, Jody M. Ganiban, Jenae M. Neiderhiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study utilised the Early Growth and Development Study (N = 561 adoptive children; 57.2% male, 55.3% White), a study of children adopted at birth, to examine heritable (birth parent psychopathology) and prenatal risk (prenatal maternal distress and smoking during pregnancy), infant negative affectivity, adoptive parent over-reactivity and warmth as independent predictors of childhood externalising symptoms. The current study evaluated if: (1) infant negative affectivity and over-reactive parenting are candidate mediators for the effects of heritable and prenatal risk on externalising symptoms and (2) parental warmth weakens the influence of heritable risk, prenatal risk, negative affectivity and over-reactive parenting on externalising symptoms. There were main effects of heritable risk, infant negative affectivity and over-reactive parenting on child externalising symptoms. The study found no support for the hypothesised mediation and moderation effects, suggesting that targeting parental over-reactivity rather than warmth would be more effective in reducing the risk for childhood externalising symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInfant and Child Development
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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