Genetic moderation of community and family level environments
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In the ecological systems perspective, individuals are viewed as developing within a set of embedded social contexts. The transactional concept that is central to this perspective underscores the bidirectional nature of human development, which is a product of ongoing interactions between an individual and the environment. The bioecological model further emphasizes that individual-level biological factors can interact with a broad array of multiple-level contexts to affect human development. Over the past two decades, investigations of how an individual’s genetic status interacts with the environment have transformed studies from the bioecological perspective. To date, these studies have focused on the genetic status of youth or children interacting with aspects of their social ecology, usually the family environment. Despite calls for inclusion of the intricate interplay among multiple levels of social contexts and personal biological characteristics, including genotype, little research has considered the complexity inherent in the bioecological perspective. This dissertation is designed to address this need. In the first study, I examine a series of youth and parent G × E effects linking community disadvantage to youth risk behavior. This study tests the hypothesis that parental genotype × community disadvantage will influence parenting behavior, which, in turn, will interact with youth genotype to predict youth’s planful future orientation, a proximal predictor of risk behavior. In the second study, I investigate transactional relations between parenting practices and child self-regulation considering the genetic status of both parent and child. This study examines the interaction effect of parenting practices and children’s genotypes on their self-regulation, which, in turn, interacts with parental genotypes to predict changes in parenting behavior.