Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Adoption Studies

  • Rohan PalmerEmail author
  • Martin Hahn
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1854


Adoption studies typically compare pairs of persons, e.g., adopted child and adoptive mother or adopted child and biological mother to assess genetic and environmental influences on behavior.

Current Knowledge


Familial resemblance of behaviors is due to genetic and/or common familial environmental influences. Adoption studies provide a direct test of the role of both factors. This is possible by drawing comparisons between families that share genetic and environmental influences and families that share only genetic or environmental factors. Adoption creates two types of families. The “genetic family” consists of pairs of genetically related individuals who do not share a common family environment (e.g., biological parent and adopted-away child). The similarity between these pairs of relatives provides a direct estimate of genetic effects on behaviors. The second type family is the “environmental family,” which is made up of pairs of individuals who are not genetically...

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References and Readings

  1. Bricker, J. B., Stallings, M. C., Corley, R. P., Wadsworth, S. J., Bryan, A., Timberlake, D. S., et al. (2006). Genetic and environmental influences on age at sexual initiation in the Colorado adoption project. Behavior Genetics, 36, 820–832.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Petrill, S. A., Plomin, R., DeFries, J. C., & Hewitt, J. K. (2003). Nature, nurture, and the transition to early adolescence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Plomin, R., Fulker, D. W., Corley, R., & DeFries, J. C. (1997). Nature, nurture, and cognitive development from 1 to 16 years: A parent-offspring adoption study. Psychological Science, 8, 442–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Young, S. E., Rhee, S. H., Stallings, M. C., Corley, R. P., & Hewitt, J. K. (2006). Genetic and environmental vulnerabilities underlying adolescent substance use and problem use: General or specific? Behavior Genetics, 36, 603–615.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Behavioral GeneticsUniversity of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyWilliam Paterson UniversityWayneUSA