By The Imprint Staff Reporters, The Imprint, March 29, 2021
In a study of twins aimed at teasing out answers to an aspect of the classic nature-versus-nurture debate, researchers have found that the child who was more harshly disciplined than the sibling twin was more likely to develop more behavior problems.
This was determined by researchers at three prominent universities who studied sibling pairs treated differently by their parents. Among the 1,030 sets of twins studied were 426 pairs who were genetically identical. Among the latter group, the difference in the level of behavioral problems they developed could only be attributed to the difference in how they were parented, and not in their genetic makeup, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan concluded in a recently published study.
The results of this research are consistent with many other studies that have linked children’s antisocial behaviors, especially more severe ones, to being yelled at or spanked by their parents. But in this case, the research team wanted to explore a common counterargument: that children act out and develop aggressive and antisocial behaviors because they inherit parental genes linked to such behaviors.