Gene-by-Environment Interaction Effects of Social Adversity on Externalizing Behavior in ABCD Youth

Genevieve F. Dash, Sarah L. Karalunas, Emily A. Kenyon, Emily K. Carter, Michael A. Mooney, Joel T. Nigg, Sarah W. Feldstein Ewing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study tested whether multiple domains of social adversity, including neighborhood opportunity/deprivation and life stress, moderate genetic (A), common environmental (C), and unique environmental (E) influences on externalizing behaviors in 760 same-sex twin pairs (332 monozygotic; 428 dizygotic) ages 10–11 from the ABCD Study. Proportion of C influences on externalizing behavior increased at higher neighborhood adversity (lower overall opportunity). A decreased and C and E increased at lower levels of educational opportunity. A increased at lower health-environment and social-economic opportunity levels. For life stress, A decreased and E increased with number of experienced events. Results for educational opportunity and stressful life experiences suggest a bioecological gene-environment interaction pattern such that environmental influences predominate at higher levels of adversity, whereas limited access to healthcare, housing, and employment stability may potentiate genetic liability for externalizing behavior via a diathesis-stress mechanism. More detailed operationalization of social adversity in gene-environment interaction studies is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-231
Number of pages13
JournalBehavior genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2023


  • ABCD
  • Externalizing
  • Gene-environment interaction
  • Life stress
  • Social adversity
  • Twin study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Gene-by-Environment Interaction Effects of Social Adversity on Externalizing Behavior in ABCD Youth'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this