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We examined whether adolescents’ genetic sensitivity, measured by a polygenic index score, moderated the longitudinal associations between parenting and adolescents’ psychological adjustment. The sample included 323 mothers, fathers, and adolescents (177 female, 146 male; Time 1 [T1] average age = 12.61 years, SD = 0.54 years; Time 2 [T2] average age = 13.59 years, SD = 0.59 years). Parents’ warmth and hostility were rated by trained, independent observers using videotapes of family discussions. Adolescents reported their symptoms of anxiety, depressed mood, and hostility at T1 and T2. The results from autoregressive linear regression models showed that adolescents’ genetic sensitivity moderated associations between observations of both mothers’ and fathers’ T1 parenting and adolescents’ T2 composite maladjustment, depression, anxiety, and hostility. Compared to adolescents with low genetic sensitivity, adolescents with high genetic sensitivity had worse adjustment outcomes when parenting was low on warmth and high on hostility. When parenting was characterized by high warmth and low hostility, adolescents with high genetic sensitivity had better adjustment outcomes than their counterparts with low genetic sensitivity. The results support the differential susceptibility model and highlight the complex ways that genes and environment interact to influence development.


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This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at Development and Psychopathology, published by Cambridge University Press. Copyright restrictions may apply. doi: 10.1017/S0954579416001310