Youth Polygenic Scores, Youth ADHD Symptoms, and Parenting Dimensions: An Evocative Gene-Environment Correlation Study

Leiana de la Paz, Michael Mooney, Peter Ryabinin, Christopher Neighbor, Dylan Antovich, Joel T. Nigg, Molly A. Nikolas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalResearch on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • ADHD
  • Gene-environment correlation
  • Parental ADHD
  • Parenting
  • Polygenic scores

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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