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Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study

Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study

The E-Risk study aims to build knowledge about children's disruptive behaviour such as oppositional, conduct, hyperactive and inattentive behaviour. It addresses i) which specific environmental risk factors contribute to the early emergence of disruptive behaviour, ii) whether environmental risk factors interact with genetic risk to influence disruptive behaviour, iii) whether and how child-specific parenting experiences explain differences in behavioural outcomes between children in the same family and iv) how the effects of risk are mediated through children's neuropsychological executive functions, social-information processing and verbal skills.

In 1998, Professor Terrie Moffitt, Professor Avshalom Caspi and 13 Centre collaborators were awarded an MRC programme grant to investigate how specific environmental risk factors contribute to the early emergence of disruptive behaviour at ages 5 and 7 using families from the TEDS sample. The E-Risk sample, around 1,000 families of twins. Families were recruited to represent the UK population of families with newborns in the 1990s, based on residential location throughout England and Wales and mother’s age (i.e. older mothers having twins via assisted reproduction were underselected and teenage mothers with twins were over selected).

The study was funded by the MRC for a further five years in a grant to Professors Terrie Moffitt, Avshalom Caspi and Louise Arseneault. We carried out follow-up assessments at ages 10 and 12, with the age 12 follow- up completed in 2008 with 96% of study families taking part in data collection home visits.

The MRC awarded funds for a further 5 years to follow up the twins at age 18 years with Professor Arseneault as the Principal Investigator. Data collection included biomarker studies of inflammation, gene expression, epigenetic methylation, telomeres and neuropsychological functions. At this age 18 follow-up, there was a new focus on how exposure to violence over the years has affected the twins' biological and psychological development. Data collection was completed in August 2014, with 93% of the original cohort taking part in home visits.

 

Substudies

Professor Arseneault launched TEDS-PEERS (Promoting Enjoyable and Engaging Relationships at School) in 2006. This study used a subsample of E-Risk twins to investigate the impact of bullying on children’s response to stress.

The ESRC also funded a neighbourhood survey in 2006 and 2008. Work on community-level environmental effects in the E-risk cohort is being taken forward under the leadership of Dr. Candice Odgers, funded by the William T. Grant Foundation and Google.

We have added a pilot substudy of immune-system biomarkers in a small group of E-Risk twins, called "Germfighters", which is under the leadership of Professor Arseneault and Dr. Andrea Danese.

 

 

Collaborators

Dr. Helen Fisher
Dr. Andrea Danese
Professor Jonathan Mill
Professor Carmine Pariante
Dr. Chloe Wong
Professor Candice Odgers
Professor Alice Gregory
Professor Sara Jaffee

 

Recent publications

Goldman-Mellor, S., Caspi, A., Arseneault, L., Ajala, N., Ambler, A., Danese, A., Fisher, H., Hucker, A., Odgers, C., Williams, T., Wong, C., & Moffitt, T. E. (2015). Committed to work but vulnerable: Self-perceptions and mental health in the NEET 18-year olds from a contemporary British cohort. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57, 196-203.

Fisher, H., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T.E., Wertz, J., Gray, R., Newbury, J., Ambler, A., Zavos, H., Danese, A., Mill, J., Odgers, C. L., Pariente, C., Wong, C. C. Y., & Arseneault, L. (2015). Measuring adolescents’ exposure to victimization: The Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Study. Development & Psychopathology, 27, 1399-1416.

 

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