Leve, L. D., Harold, G. T., Ge, X., Neiderhiser, J. M., & Patterson, G. (2010). Refining intervention targets in family-based research: Lessons from quantitative behavioral genetics. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5, 516–526. PMC: 3008822
Abstract: The results from a large body of family-based research studies indicate that modifying the environment (specifically dimensions of the social environment) through intervention is an effective mechanism for achieving positive outcomes. Parallel to this work is a growing body of evidence from genetically informed studies indicating that social environmental factors are central to enhancing or offsetting genetic influences. Increased precision in the understanding of the role of the social environment in offsetting genetic risk might provide new information about environmental mechanisms that could be applied to prevention science. However, at present, the multifaceted conceptualization of the environment in prevention science is mismatched with the more limited measurement of the environment in many genetically informed studies. A framework for translating quantitative behavioral genetic research to inform the development of preventive interventions is presented in this article. The measurement of environmental indices amenable to modification is discussed within the context of quantitative behavioral genetic studies. In particular, emphasis is placed on the necessary elements that lead to benefits in prevention science, specifically the development of evidence-based interventions. An example from an ongoing prospective adoption study is provided to illustrate the potential of this translational process to inform the selection of preventive intervention targets.