The role of child negative emotionality in parenting and child adjustment: Gene–environment interplay

Elizabeth A. Shewark, Amanda M. Ramos, Chang Liu, Jody M. Ganiban, Gregory Fosco, Daniel S. Shaw, David Reiss, Misaki N. Natsuaki, Leslie D. Leve, Jenae M. Neiderhiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Evocative gene–environment correlation (rGE) describes a process through which children’s heritable characteristics influence their rearing environments. The current study examined whether heritable influences on parenting and children’s behavioural outcomes operate through child negative emotionality. Method: Using data from the Early Growth and Development Study, we examined associations among adoptive parent reports of child anger and sadness at 4.5 years, adoptive parents’ hostile and warm parenting at 6 years and child behavioural problems and social competence at age 7. Birth parent temperament was included to test whether child effects on parents reflect evocative gene–environment correlation (rGE). Results: Child anger at 4.5 years evoked hostile parenting from adoptive parents at 6 years, which was subsequently related to child problem behaviours at 7 years. Evocative rGE effects were identified for adoptive parents’ hostile parenting. Conclusions: By employing a genetically informed design, we found that birth parent temperament was related to child negative emotionality. Adoptive parents were sensitive to child negative emotionality, and this sensitivity was linked to the child’s later adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1453-1461
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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