Presentation on theme: "Shared, child-specific and reciprocal influences in the development of psychopathology Jenny Jenkins, Judy Dunn, Jon Rasbash, Tom OConnor, Anna Simpson,"— Presentation transcript:
Shared, child-specific and reciprocal influences in the development of psychopathology Jenny Jenkins, Judy Dunn, Jon Rasbash, Tom OConnor, Anna Simpson, Patricia Behnke Child Development, 2005 Journal of Family Psychology, 2005
Conundrum for environmental researchers Behavioral genetic studies find that siblings are very different from one another once genetic effects have been controlled
Effective vs Observed environment BG studies tend to focus on the EFFECTIVE environment (Turkheimer and Waldron, 2001). My focus is the OBSERVED environment. Measurements of the environment: family- wide and child-specific
Outcome Variable Between Family Comparisons Family A Family B 12 Family Level Child Level Majority of environmental studies of family influences family and child-specific processes are confounded
Environmental studies using sibling design: unconfounds family and child Family A Family B Family Level Child Level Between family comparisons Within family comparisons 1 2 3
Themes Do family-wide or child-specific aspects of the environment predict change in child behavior? How similar are childrens experiences in families? Shared family factors that increase or decrease similarity of experience? What are childrens own contributions to the stressful environments that they experience?
Mutual influence of marital conflict and childrens behavior problems: shared and non-shared family risks Jenny Jenkins, Judy Dunn, Jon Rasbash, Tom OConnor and Anna Simpson Child Development, 24-39, 2005
Marital conflict as a shared risk for children
Features of previous studies Mainly correlational at single time point Advantage of longitudinal for causal argument A few that have predicted change in child behavior Elements of marital conflict: about kids and not about kids
Marital conflict Childrens problems
Indications of child effect Couples w/o kidsMarital satisfaction Birth of baby associated with declines in MS Poor child temperament or health MS
Methods ALSPAC: 14,000 birth cohort from Avon, UK Avon Brothers and Sisters Study: intensive investigations of non-step, single parent and stepfamilies with two or more children in family Time 1. Mean age of youngest 4.8 years. Older sibs between 6-17 years. Follow-up 2 years later Examined change in response variable
Measures Child externalizing based on teacher report: TRF Argument about children: Mo report: How often couple disagrees about different aspects of child behavior. Exposure to conflict: Mo report: how often child in room when parents argue. General partner conflict: Mo report: money, in-laws, sex
Measures at the family and child-specific levels 3 Family A B Family average Argument about children Childs deviation from the family mean 1 2 2
Does marital conflict affect change in child behavior?
Does marital conflict affect change in child behavior? Not child-specific measure
Does child behavior affect change in marital conflict?
Child externalizing predicts change in argument more strongly in stepfamilies
Marital conflict increases externalizing child behavior Childrens externalizing behavior increases Conflict between parents: esp in steps Conclusion
Question 2 Is the effect of marital conflict on siblings shared or non-shared? Family level variable (family average on argument about children) explains variance in response rather than child-specific variable
BUT Siblings show greater dissimilarity at higher levels of argument about children
Environmental risk may serve to spread children out. Role of individual differences? Environmental stress Readiness to anger Language vulnerability Behavioral inhibition Ext Int Low achievement
Question 3 How differential are siblings experiences of marital conflict? What explains such differential experience?
Shared family environments? Exposure to parental conflict Family Blue Family YellowFamily Pink Families differ from one another on how much parental conflict children experience
Shared family environments? Children within families differ from one another on how much parental conflict they experience Exposure to parental conflict Family BlueFamily Yellow Family Pink
Sibling similarity on conflict experience
Change in differential argument about siblings
Differential sibling exposure to conflict as a function of family status
Summary of findings Relationship between marital conflict and child behavior is reciprocal At high levels of marital conflict siblings show increasing dissimilarity Siblings experiences in families are differential. Such differential experience is partly a function of shared environmental factors
Sibling negativity: Dyad-specific and shared family effects Same themes Sibling dyad negativity vs child adjustment Whether change in sibling relationships is explained by shared family factors; whether shared family factors increase dyad dissimilarity; what explains dyad dissimilarity
Methods ABSS sample as previously described Maternal interview of sibling negativity in the dyad using Colorado Maternal Interview on sibling relationships. Maternal negativity towards child based on 4 scales. Average for dyad; average for family and differential between siblings in dyad calculated.
Does family average or dyad specific maternal negativity explain change in sibling negativity?
Change in sibling dyad negativity as a function of single parent family Within family variance
Maternal differential treatment explains 13% of within family variance on sibling negativity – but only in single parent families Within family variance
Limitations of the sibling and marital conflict studies Measurement problems. Although in some of the studies the IV and DV are based on different informants, the family clustering information is based on single informant. Degree of family clustering that we see may be related to same person reporting on measures for different siblings
Conclusions Shared family stresses predict more variance in outcomes than child or dyad specific. Measurement problem or AMBIENT effect? Childrens experiences in families are both similar and different. Shared family risks are associated with more differential experience: step families, single parent homes. Stresses increase individual differences? Childrens own contributions to the stressful environments that they experience?