Intergenerational transmission: Theoretical and methodological issues and an introduction to four Dutch cohorts

Susan Branje*, Sanne Geeraerts, Eveline L. de Zeeuw, Anoek M. Oerlemans, M. Elisabeth Koopman-Verhoeff, Susanne Schulz, Stefanie Nelemans, Wim Meeus, Catharina A. Hartman, Manon H.J. Hillegers, Albertine J. Oldehinkel, Dorret I. Boomsma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Behaviors, traits and characteristics are transmitted from parents to offspring because of complex genetic and non-genetic processes. We review genetic and non-genetic mechanisms of intergenerational transmission of psychopathology and parenting and focus on recent methodological advances in disentangling genetic and non-genetic factors. In light of this review, we propose that future studies on intergenerational transmission should aim to disentangle genetic and non-genetic transmission, take a long-term longitudinal perspective, and focus on paternal and maternal intergenerational transmission. We present four large longitudinal cohort studies within the Consortium on Individual Development, which together address many of these methodological challenges. These four cohort studies aim to examine the extent to which genetic and non-genetic transmission from the parental generation shapes parenting behavior and psychopathology in the next generation, as well as the extent to which self-regulation and social competence mediate this transmission. Conjointly, these four cohorts provide a comprehensive approach to the study of intergenerational transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100835
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Early online date8 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Children
  • Gene-environment
  • Intergenerational transmission
  • Longitudinal
  • Parent

Cohort Studies

  • Netherlands Twin Register (NTR)


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