Genetic and environmental influences on academic achievement trajectories during adolescence, reprinted

Wendy Johnson, M. McGue, William G. Iacono

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Using the population-based Minnesota Twin Family Study, we investigated the effects of child academic engagement (interest, involvement, effort), IQ, depression, externalizing behavior, and family environmental risk on achievement measured as trajectories of reported school grades from ages 11 through 17. Hierarchical linear modeling showed main effects on initial reported Grades for all variables, and IQ mitigated the deleterious effects of family risk and externalizing. Only engagement affected change in Grades. Influences on initial Grades were strongly genetically influenced, associated primarily with IQ, engagement, and externalizing behavior. Shared environmental influences on initial Grades linked engagement, IQ, and family risk in both genders. There were substantial genetic influences on change in Grades, but they were not associated with the academic, family risk, and mental health covarying factors. These results indicate that level of and change in reported grades have systematic patterns over time and document the existence of individual differences in the commonly shared developmental experience of adapting to the school environment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPsychology of Education II: Critical Concepts
EditorsPeter Smith
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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