Genetic and environmental influences on adolescents' perceptions of current family environment

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Previous studies of the genetic and environmental components of the Family Environment Scale (FES) have typically reported that scales relating to familial acceptance are moderately to strongly genetically influenced while measures of control are more environmentally influenced. These reports relied on retrospective recall, which is not as reliable as recall of current environment. To investigate the genetic contribution to contemporaneous perceptions of one's rearing environment, the responses on the FES of 471 17-year-old male twins (141 complete MZ twin pairs, 73 complete DZ twin pairs, 43 incomplete twin pairs) participating in the Minnesota Twin-Family Study (MTFS) were analyzed. Individual FES scales were generally modestly to moderately heritable. Unlike previous research, we did not find evidence that measures of control/structure were less heritable than measures of acceptance/support. These findings support a genetic basis of perceptions of one's family environment and indicate that reports of control/structure may be more genetically influenced than previously believed based on retrospective reports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-380
Number of pages8
JournalBehavior genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by NIH grant DA 05147.


  • Behavior genetics
  • Family Environment Scale
  • Family environment
  • Twins


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