The Early Growth and Development Study: A Dual-Family Adoption Study from Birth Through Adolescence

Leslie D. Leve, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, Jody M. Ganiban, Misaki N. Natsuaki, Daniel S. Shaw, David Reiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The Early Growth and Development Study (EGDS) is a prospective adoption study of birth parents, adoptive parents and adopted children (n = 561 adoptees). The original sample has been expanded to include siblings of the EGDS adoptees who were reared by the birth mother and assessed beginning at age 7 years (n = 217 biological children), and additional siblings in both the birth and adoptive family homes, recruited when the adoptees were 8-15 years old (n = 823). The overall study aims are to examine how family, peer and contextual processes affect child and adolescent adjustment, and to examine their interplay (mediation, moderation) with genetic influences. Adoptive and birth parents were originally recruited through adoption agencies located throughout the USA following the birth of a child. Assessments are ongoing and occurred in 9 month's intervals until the adoptees turned 3 years of age, and in 1 to 2 year intervals thereafter through age 15. Data collection includes the following primary constructs: child temperament, behavior problems, mental health, peer relations, executive functioning, school performance and health; birth and adoptive parent personality characteristics, mental health, health, context, substance use, parenting and marital relations; and the prenatal environment. Findings highlight the power of the adoption design to detect environmental influences on child development and provide evidence of complex interactions and correlations between genetic, prenatal environmental and postnatal environmental influences on a range of child outcomes. The study sample, procedures and an overview of findings are summarized and ongoing assessment activities are described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)716-727
Number of pages12
JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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