A Behavior-Genetic Study of the Legacy of Early Caregiving Experiences: Academic Skills, Social Competence, and Externalizing Behavior in Kindergarten

Glenn I. Roisman, Robert Christopher Fraley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A critique of research examining whether early experiences with primary caregivers are reflected in adaptation is that relevant longitudinal studies have generally not employed genetically informed research designs capable of unconfounding shared genes and environments. Using the twin subsample (N=485 pairs) of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, the current study provides evidence that early parental support (derived from observations at 24months and around age 4, in prekindergarten) is associated with academic skills (r=32), social competence (r=15), and externalizing behavior (r=-11) in kindergarten. Crucially, the shared environment accounted for virtually all of the correlation between parenting and academic skills, roughly half of the association between parenting and social competence, and approximately one fourth of the correlation between parenting and externalizing behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)728-742
Number of pages15
JournalChild development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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