Genetic and environmental influences on teacher ratings of the Child Behavior Checklist

Hilary Towers, Erica Sports, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, Robert Plomin, E. Mavis Hetherington, David Reiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The knowledge we have of childhood and adolescent behaviour is, to some extent, a function of the unique perspective of the rater. Although many behavioural genetics studies have used parent and child self-reports in their assessments of child and adolescent adjustment, few have included teacher ratings of behaviour. It is possible that genetic and environmental contributions to teacher reports are different from those using parent and self-reports. The present study examined genetic and environmental influences on six subscales of the Child Behavior Checklist Teacher Report Form (CBC-TRF) using a normative sample of adolescents. The sample consisted of 373 same-sex twin and sibling pairs of varying degrees of genetic relatedness participating in the Nonshared Environment in Adolescent project (NEAD). For all of the CBC subscales, except attention problems and social problems, nonshared environmental influence was the most important source of variance. Additive genetic factors were of moderate importance for externalising behaviours, whereas nonadditive genetic factors contributed to the anxious/depressed, attention problems, withdrawn, and social problems subscales. For none of the constructs was shared environment a significant influence. Three alternative models testing for contrast effects, differences in twin and nontwin siblings, and differences in nondivorced and stepfamilies were examined. In most cases, the best-fitting model was a model that did not include any of these effects, suggesting that these factors do not critically affect the basic model. However, some of the patterns of correlations and parameter estimates were unusual and may warrant future investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-381
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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