Behavior Genetics

, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 567–578

The Cross-Generational Mother–Daughter–Aunt–Niece Design: Establishing Validity of the MDAN Design with NLSY Fertility Variables

  • Joseph Lee Rodgers
  • David E. Bard
  • Amber Johnson
  • Brian D’Onofrio
  • Warren B. Miller
Original Research

DOI: 10.1007/s10519-008-9225-0

Cite this article as:
Rodgers, J.L., Bard, D.E., Johnson, A. et al. Behav Genet (2008) 38: 567. doi:10.1007/s10519-008-9225-0


Using National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) fertility variables, we introduce and illustrate a new genetically-informative design. First, we develop a kinship linking algorithm, using the NLSY79 and the NLSY-Children data to link mothers to daughters and aunts to nieces. Then we construct mother–daughter correlations to compare to aunt–niece correlations, an MDAN design, within the context of the quantitative genetic model. The results of our empirical illustration, which uses DF Analysis and generalized estimation equations (GEE) to estimate biometrical parameters from NLSY79 sister–sister pairs and their children in the NLSY-Children dataset, provide both face validity and concurrent validity in support of the efficacy of the design. We describe extensions of the MDAN design. Compared to the typical within-generational design used in most behavior genetic research, the cross-generational feature of this design has certain advantages and interesting features. In particular, we note that the equal environment assumption of the traditional biometrical model shifts in the context of a cross-generational design. These shifts raise questions and provide motivation for future research using the MDAN and other cross-generational designs.


Behavior genetic designsFertility precursorsNLSY79NLSY-childrenSiblingsAuntsFamily designsHeritabilityDF Analysis

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Lee Rodgers
    • 1
  • David E. Bard
    • 2
  • Amber Johnson
    • 3
  • Brian D’Onofrio
    • 4
  • Warren B. Miller
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  2. 2.University of Oklahoma Health Sciences CenterOklahoma CityUSA
  3. 3.Portland State UniversityPortlandUSA
  4. 4.University of IndianaBloomingtonUSA
  5. 5.Transnational Family Research InstituteBethesdaUSA