Behavior Genetics

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 223–233 | Cite as

Internalizing Behavior in Adolescent Girls Affects Parental Emotional Overinvolvement: A Cross-lagged Twin Study

  • Therese MobergEmail author
  • Paul Lichtenstein
  • Mats Forsman
  • Henrik Larsson


The aim of this study was to examine the direction and the etiology of the association between different parenting styles (parental emotional overinvolvement [EOI] and parental criticism) and internalizing behavior from adolescence to early adulthood. A longitudinal genetically informative cross-lagged design was applied to a population-based sample of Swedish twins contacted at age 16–17 (n = 2369) and at age 19–20 (n = 1705). Sex-limitation modelling revealed different effects for boys and girls. For girls, genetic influences on internalizing problems at age 16–17 independently explained 2.7% of the heritability in parental EOI at age 19–20. These results suggest that emotionally overinvolved and self-sacrificing parental behavior stems in part from daughters (but not sons) genetic predisposition for internalizing behavior. These findings highlight the importance of genetically influenced child-driven effects underlying the parenting-internalizing association, and clarify that the role of such effects may differ depending on sex, type of parenting and developmental period.


Internalizing behavior Parenting Sex-differences Longitudinal Genetics 



This research was supported by grants from the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research and from the Swedish Research Council. Henrik Larsson was funded by a post-doc stipend from Hjärnfonden and from the Karolinska Institutet center of Neurodevelopmental Disorders.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Therese Moberg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paul Lichtenstein
    • 1
  • Mats Forsman
    • 2
  • Henrik Larsson
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Medical Epidemiology and BiostatisticsKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Centre for Violence PreventionKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Karolinska Institutet Center of Neurodevelopmental DisordersStockholmSweden

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