Genes, Maternal Negativity, and Self-Control: Evidence of a Gene × Environment Interaction

John Paul Wright, Rebecca Schnupp, Kevin M. Beaver, Matt Delisi, Michael Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Maternal negativity has been consistently linked to a wide range of behavior problems in youth. Many of these problems are closely linked to low self-control. Even so, it is clear that not all youth exposed to maternal negativity show high levels of low self-control. Using direct measures of dopamine genes, we explore the extent to which dopamine genes are associated with variation in low self-control when accompanied by high and low levels of maternal negativity. Our results provide considerable evidence of a Gene × Enviornment interaction and may help to better specify which youth are likely to demonstrate low self-control when faced with stressful stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-260
Number of pages16
JournalYouth Violence and Juvenile Justice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jul

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research uses data from Add Health, a program project directed by Kathleen Mullan Harris and designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 23 other federal agencies and foundations. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Information on how to obtain the Add Health data files is available on the Add Health website ( ). No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Law


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