How genes and the social environment moderate each other

David Reiss, Leslie D. Leve, Jenae M. Neiderhiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Recent research has suggested that the social environment can moderate the expression of genetic influences on health and that genetic influences can shape an individual's sensitivity to the social environment. Evidence supports 4 major mechanisms: genes can influence an individual's response to environmental stress, genes may enhance an individual's sensitivity to both favorable and adverse environments, inherited characteristics may better fit with some environments than with others, and inherited capabilitiesmay only become manifest in challenging or responsive environments. Further progress depends on better recognition of patterns of gene-environment interaction, improved methods of assessing the environment and its impact on geneticmechanisms, the use of appropriately designed laboratory studies, identification of heritable differences in an individual before environmental moderation occurs, and clarification of the timing of the impact of social and genetic moderation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S111-S121
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue numberSUPPL.1
StatePublished - Oct 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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