Refining intervention targets in Family-Based research: Lessons from quantitative behavioral genetics

Leslie D. Leve, Gordon T. Harold, Xiaojia Ge, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, Gerald Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The results from a large body of family-based research studies indicate that modifying the environment (specifically dimensions of the social environment) through intervention is an effective mechanism for achieving positive outcomes. Parallel to this work is a growing body of evidence from genetically informed studies indicating that social environmental factors are central to enhancing or offsetting genetic influences. Increased precision in the understanding of the role of the social environment in offsetting genetic risk might provide new information about environmental mechanisms that could be applied to prevention science. However, at present, the multifaceted conceptualization of the environment in prevention science is mismatched with the more limited measurement of the environment in many genetically informed studies. In this article, we present a framework for translating quantitative behavioral genetic research to inform the development of preventive interventions. The measurement of environmental indices amenable to modification is discussed within the context of quantitative behavioral genetic studies. In particular, emphasis is placed on the necessary elements that lead to benefits in prevention science, specifically the development of evidence-based interventions. We provide an example from an ongoing prospective adoption study to illustrate the potential of this translational process to inform the selection of preventive intervention targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-526
Number of pages11
JournalPerspectives on Psychological Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


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