Parenting practices and parental symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been linked to severity and course of youth ADHD. However, genetically influenced behaviors related to ADHD in youth may also influence parenting behaviors. Polygenic scores (PGS) have been widely used to quantify genetic vulnerability for ADHD but has rarely been used to examine gene-environment correlation effects. The current study examined the direct effects of youth ADHD PGS and its evocative effects on parenting behaviors via youth ADHD symptoms. 803 youth aged 6–18 years (58.5% male) completed a multistage, multi-informant assessment that included measures of parenting practices and youth and parental ADHD symptoms. A mediation model was used to evaluate direct and evocative effects. Furthermore, we examined if these evocative effects remain after controlling for parental ADHD symptoms. Sensitivity analyses across age, sex, and socioeconomic status (SES) as well as restricting ancestry groups to European only ancestry were also conducted. Results indicated that youth ADHD PGS reliably predicted youth ADHD symptoms across all models (βs ranging from 0.18 to 0.26), including across age, sex, and SES and held even with ancestry restricted to the largest group (northern European). Evocative effects emerged such that higher youth PGS significantly predicted more youth ADHD symptoms, which in turn, significantly predicted lower levels of parental involvement and higher levels of poor supervision/monitoring and inconsistent discipline. These effects remained after controlling for parent ADHD symptoms.
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This project was supported by Award Number R01MH070004-01A2 and MH-R3759105 from the National Institute of Mental Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Mental Health or the National Institutes of Health. The authors also thank all participating children and their families for making this work possible.
This study was approved by the Michigan State University Institutional Review Board and was performed in accordance with the ethical standards as laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.
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de la Paz, L., Mooney, M.A., Ryabinin, P. et al. Youth Polygenic Scores, Youth ADHD Symptoms, and Parenting Dimensions: An Evocative Gene-Environment Correlation Study. Res Child Adolesc Psychopathol (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-023-01024-5
- Parental ADHD
- Polygenic scores
- Gene-environment correlation