Genetics, the Rearing Environment, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce: A Swedish National Adoption Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We used classical and extended adoption designs in Swedish registries to disentangle genetic and rearing-environment influences on the intergenerational transmission of divorce. In classical adoption analyses, adoptees (n = 19,715) resembled their biological parents, rather than their adoptive parents, in their history of divorce. In extended adoption analyses, offspring (n = 82,698) resembled their not-lived-with fathers and their lived-with mothers. There was stronger resemblance to lived-with mothers, providing indirect evidence of rearing-environment influences on the intergenerational transmission of divorce. The heritability of divorce assessed across generations was 0.13. We attempted to replicate our findings using within-generation data from adoptive and biological siblings (ns = 8,523–53,097). Adoptees resembled their biological, not adoptive, siblings in their history of divorce. Thus, there was consistent evidence that genetic factors contributed to the intergenerational transmission of divorce but weaker evidence for a rearing-environment effect of divorce. Within-generation data from siblings supported these conclusions.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Medical Genetics
  • Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)

Keywords

  • adoption study, divorce, extended adoption study, intergenerational transmission, sibling study
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-378
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Science
Volume29
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes