Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

2020 Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Gene-Environment Correlation

  • Kate LynchEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_1470



In population and behavioral genetics, gene-environment correlation occurs when genetic variance and environmental variance are correlated in a heritability analysis. This happens when there is an association between an individual’s genetic background and their environment, resulting in an association between environmental and genetic differences at a population level.


Heritability (H 2) is a statistical parameter that estimates how much variation in a trait or phenotype within a population is due to genetic differences between individuals in that population. To arrive at an estimate, variation is encompassed in the statistical term variance. H 2 is summarized as the proportion of genetic variance (V G) (as opposed to environmental variance (V E)) that accounts for phenotypic variance (V P) (Eq. 1):
$$ {\mathrm{H}}^2=\frac{{\mathrm{V}}_{\mathrm{G}}}{{\mathrm{V}}_{\mathrm{P}}} $$
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Ambert, A. M. (1997). Parents, children, and adolescents: Interactive relationships and development in context. New York: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  2. Block, N. (1995). How heritability misleads about race. Cognition, 56(2), 99–128.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Jaffee, S. R., & Price, T. S. (2007). Gene-environment correlations: a review of the evidence and implications for prevention of mental illness. Molecular Psychiatry, 12(5), 432–442.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Jencks, C. S., Smith, M., Acland, H., Bane, M., Cohen, D., Gintis, H., et al. (1972). Inequality: A reassessment of the effect of family and schooling in America. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  5. Meek, S. E., Lemery-Chalfant, K., Jahromi, L. B., & Valiente, C. (2013). A review of gene–environment correlations and their implications for autism: A conceptual model. Psychological Review, 120(3), 497–521.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Moffitt, T. E. (2005). The new look of behavioral genetics in developmental psychopathology: Gene-environment interplay in antisocial behaviors. Psychological Bulletin, 131(4), 533.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Plomin, R., DeFries, J. C., & Loehlin, J. C. (1977). Genotype-environment interaction and correlation in the analysis of human behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 84(2), 309–322.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Plomin, R., Loehlin, J. C., & DeFries, J. C. (1985). Genetic and environmental components of environmental influences. Developmental Psychology, 21(3), 391–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Plomin, R., DeFries, J. C., McClearn, G. E., & McGuffin, P. (2008). Behavioral genetics (5th ed.). Worth Publishers: New York.Google Scholar
  10. Rutter, M., & Silberg, J. (2002). Environment interplay in relation to emotional and behavioral disturbance. Annual Review of Psychology, 53(1), 463–490.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Rutter, M., Moffitt, T. E., & Caspi, A. (2006). Gene–environment interplay and psychopathology: Multiple varieties but real effects. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(3), 226–261.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Ilan Dar-Nimrod
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SydneySydneyAustralia