Genetic probes of three theories of maternal adjustment: II. Genetic and environmental influences

David Reiss, Marianne Cederblad, Nancy L. Pedersen, Paul Lichtenstein, Olof Elthammar, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, Kjell Hansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


This is the first report of the Twin Mom Study, an investigation of three hypotheses concerning influences on maternal adjustment. These hypotheses concern the role of the marital and parent-child relationships in mediating genetic influences on maternal adjustment and on the importance of the mothers' marital partners as a specifiable source of influences on their adjustment not shared with their sisters. The study's sample of 150 monozygotic (MZ) twins and 176 dizygotic (DZ) twins was drawn randomly from the Swedish Twin Registry and is, with some small exceptions, likely to be representative of women in the Swedish population. The sample included the marital partners of these twins and their adolescent children. Self-report and coded videotapes were a source of information about family process. Results reported in this first report focus on comparability of American and Swedish samples on scales measuring psychiatric symptoms, and on an analysis of genetic and environmental influences on nine measures of mothers' adjustment. Results suggest comparability between the US and Sweden. Genetic influences were found for all measures of adjustment, particularly in the psychological manifestations of anxiety and for smoking. The pattern of findings also underscored the importance of influences unique to each sibling within the twin pair, thus focusing attention on the potential role of marital partners in maternal adjustment. Results also suggested that experiences shared by the twin sisters, experiences unrelated to their genetic similarity, may influence their fearfulness and alcohol consumption. Our model did not include these influences and thus must be amended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-272
Number of pages12
JournalFamily Process
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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