Behavior Genetics

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 449–462 | Cite as

The Environments of Adopted and Non-adopted Youth: Evidence on Range Restriction From the Sibling Interaction and Behavior Study (SIBS)

  • Matt McGue
  • Margaret Keyes
  • Anu Sharma
  • Irene Elkins
  • Lisa Legrand
  • Wendy Johnson
  • William G. Iacono
Original Paper


Previous reviews of the literature have suggested that shared environmental effects may be underestimated in adoption studies because adopted individuals are exposed to a restricted range of family environments. A sample of 409 adoptive and 208 non-adoptive families from the Sibling Interaction and Behavior Study (SIBS) was used to identify the environmental dimensions on which adoptive families show greatest restriction and to determine the effect of this restriction on estimates of the adoptive sibling correlation. Relative to non-adoptive families, adoptive families experienced a 41% reduction of variance in parent disinhibitory psychopathology and an 18% reduction of variance in socioeconomic status (SES). There was limited evidence for range restriction in exposure to bad peer models, parent depression, or family climate. However, restriction in range in parent disinhibitory psychopathology and family SES had no effect on adoptive-sibling correlations for delinquency, drug use, and IQ. These data support the use of adoption studies to obtain direct estimates of the importance of shared environmental effects on psychological development.


Adoption studies Range restriction Shared environment Adolescent development 



Supported in part by USPHS Grants # AA11886 and MH066140.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matt McGue
    • 1
    • 2
  • Margaret Keyes
    • 1
  • Anu Sharma
    • 3
  • Irene Elkins
    • 1
  • Lisa Legrand
    • 1
  • Wendy Johnson
    • 1
  • William G. Iacono
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Public HealthUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense CDenmark
  3. 3.Minnesota Institute of Public HealthMinneapolisUSA

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