Parenting in the Context of the Child: Genetic and Social Processes

Volume 87, Issue 1-3, Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development

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

Included in this issue:


When parents raise their own biological offspring, it is difficult to tell whether their impact on their child’s development arises from parenting or from genes they share with their child.  To clarify this distinction, we report on a longitudinal study of birth parents, children they have placed for adoption, and the child’s rearing parents. Families (N = 561) were recruited through United States adoption agencies between 2000-2010. Data collection began when adoptees (males = 57.2%; White 54.5%, Black 13.2%, Hispanic/Latinx 13.4%, Multiracial 17.8%, other 1.1%) were 9 months old. We found that parenting does matter for children’s development, and that in some cases children’s genetic makeup influences the parenting they receive, and in others parenting effects depend on the child’s genetic makeup. These results may have implications for early interventions with children and their families, suggesting they focus on helping parents optimize their responses to the uniqueness of their child, some of which reflects their genetic makeup.

About the Authors


Matt McGue, Robert F. Krueger, and Glenn I. Roisman
Matt McGue, Robert F. Krueger, and Glenn I. Roisman

Confounding, Causal Inference, and the Nature of Parent Effects: The Utility of the Adoption Study Design by Matt McGue, Robert F. Krueger, and Glenn I. Roisman


Origins of the Research on Genetics of Family Relationships

SRCD Monograph author David Reiss discusses the origins of his research on genetically informed studies of family relationships.

The Mechanisms Through Which Parenting Influences Child Outcomes
SRCD Monograph author Jody Ganiban discusses what the role of parenting is and what the mechanisms through which parenting influences child outcomes are.

How Do Child Characteristics Shape Parenting? 
SRCD Monograph author Leslie Leve discusses this how the best parenting strategies might differ based on child characteristics.

How Do Child Characteristics Shape Relationships?
SRCD Monograph author Jenae Neiderhiser discusses how child characteristics shape children’s relationships with others.

The Implication of the Early Growth and Development Study for Prevention
SRCD Monograph author Daniel Shaw discusses what can be learned from this research project to improve the prevention of notable clinical problems in children and adolescents.

Being a Member of the Research Team and Career Development
SRCD Monograph author Misaki Natsuaki discusses how being a member of the Early Growth and Development Study research team influence research and teaching.

Teaching and Research Resources

How Different Family Constellations Can Inform Science | PowerPoint

How Different Family Constellations Can Inform Science | PowerPoint