Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Development and Family Studies


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Clinton G. Gudmunson

Second Advisor

Tricia K. Neppl


Paper 1: The differential-susceptibility framework was tested with respect to parental perception of economic pressure and observed harsher parenting behaviors toward their adolescent. Adolescents (age 14) were observed interacting with their mothers (N = 343) and fathers (N = 315) during a structured interaction task. A parental polygenic index of hypothesized genetic sensitivity was created by summing allelic variation across 5 candidate gene polymorphisms (5-HTT, ANKK1/DRD2, DRD4, DAT, COMT). Compared to fathers who had low scores on the polygenic sensitivity index, fathers with high polygenic sensitivity scores were more likely to engage in more hostility, more angry coerciveness, and more antisocial behavior toward their adolescent child when they experienced higher levels of economic hardship. In contrast, mother genetic sensitivity was not as predictive as father genetic sensitivity in moderating parental perception of economic pressure and harsh parenting behaviors toward their adolescent.

Paper 2: The current study evaluated a developmental model for understanding how experiences in the family of origin may work with individual behaviors and dispositional factors in shaping later romantic relationships. Specifically, we evaluated the impact of father-adolescent relationships (at ages 15-16) on later romantic relationships (at ages 29-31). Mediating behaviors (at age 18) were also examined. Participants were 323 adults from an ongoing longitudinal study. Impressively, father-to-adolescent hostile parenting was directly related to later hostile interactions with a romantic partner nearly 15 years later. Specifically, father hostile parenting at age 15 and 16 was associated with greater academic difficulties, higher number of sexual partners, and lower self-esteem at age 18. In turn, these risky behaviors and dispositional factors experienced at 18 were associated with greater hostility with a romantic partner at age 29 to 31.


Copyright Owner

Jennifer Marie Senia



File Format


File Size

82 pages