Abstract

In the United States the gap between black and white babies’ birth weights has remained largely unexplained. Rather than trying to measure all relevant variables, we used a genetically informative design to study the relative importance of genetic and environmental factors. Employing multiple indicators of “birth health risk,” we found that the racial differences increased with the magnitude of the shared environmental effects. This suggested that possible genetic effects would not pertain to fetal genes, although genes affecting the mother’s physical or physiological characteristics could be important because they contribute to shared environment in our analysis.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.

References

Akaike, H. (
1987
).
Factor Analysis and AIC
.
Psychometrika
,
52
,
317
32
. 10.1007/BF02294359
Bentler, P.M. (
1990
).
Comparative Fit Indexes in Structural Models
.
Psychological Bulletin
,
107
,
238
46
. 10.1037/0033-2909.107.2.238
Bollen, K.A. (
1989
).
Structural Equations With Latent Variables
.
New York
:
Wiley
.
Boomsma, D.I., Orlebeke, J.F., & Van Baal, G.C.M. (
1992
).
The Dutch Twin Register: Growth Data on Weight and Height
.
Behavior Genetics
,
22
,
247
51
. 10.1007/BF01067004
Brooks-Gunn, J., Klebanov, P.K., Liaw, F., & Spiker, D. (
1993
).
Enhancing the Development of Low-Birthweight, Premature Infants: Changes in Cognition and Behavior Over the First Three Years
.
Child Development
,
64
,
736
53
. 10.2307/1131215
Carr-Hill, R., Campbell, D.M., Hall, M.H., & Meredith, A. (
1987
).
Is Birth Weight Determined Genetically?
.
British Medical Journal
,
295
,
687
89
. 10.1136/bmj.295.6600.687
NLSY Child Handbook: A Guide to the 1986–1990 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Child Data
. (
1993
).
Columbus, OH
:
Ohio State University Press
.
Chakraborty, R., Kamboh, M., Nwannkwo, M., & Ferrel, R. (
1992
).
Caucasian Genes in American Blacks: New Data
.
American Journal of Human Genetics
,
50
,
145
55
.
Cohen, J. (
1988
).
Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences
.
Hillsdale, NJ
:
Erlbaum
.
Cramer, J.C. (
1987
).
Social Factors and Infant Mortality: Identifying High Risk Groups and Proximate Causes
.
Demography
,
24
,
299
322
. 10.2307/2061300
Cramer, J.C. (
1995
).
Racial and Ethnic Differences in Birth Weight: The Role of Income and Financial Assistance
.
Demography
,
32
,
231
47
. 10.2307/2061742
Dolan, C.V. (
1992
).
Biometric Decomposition of Phenotypic Means in Human Samples
.
Amsterdam
:
Department of Developmental Psychology, University of Amsterdam
.
Dolan, C.V., Molenaar, P.C.M., & Boomsma, D.I. (
1989
).
LISREL Analysis of Twin Data With Structured Means
.
Behavior Genetics
,
19
,
51
62
. 10.1007/BF01065883
Dolan, C.V., Molenaar, P.C.M., & Boomsma, D.I. (
1991
).
Simultaneous Genetic Analysis of Longitudinal Means and Covariance Structure in the Simplex Model Using Twin Data
.
Behavior Genetics
,
21
,
49
65
. 10.1007/BF01067666
Dolan, C.V., Molenaar, P.C.M., & Boomsma, D.I. (
1992
).
Decomposition of Multivariate Phenotypic Means in Multigroup Genetic Covariance Structure Analysis
.
Behavior Genetics
,
22
,
319
35
. 10.1007/BF01066664
Dolan, C.V., Molenaar, P.C.M., & Boomsma, D.I. (
1994
).
Simultaneous Genetic Analysis of Means and Covariance Structure: Pearson-Lawley Selection Rules
.
Behavior Genetics
,
24
,
17
24
. 10.1007/BF01067925
Falconer, D.S. (
1989
).
Introduction to Quantitative Genetics
.
Essex, UK
:
Longman
.
Gortmaker, S.L. (
1979
).
Poverty and Infant Mortality in the United States
.
American Sociological Review
,
44
,
280
97
. 10.2307/2094510
Preventing Low Birth Weight
. (
1985
).
Washington, DC
:
National Academy Press
.
Jöreskog, K.G., & Sörbom, D. (
1989
).
LISREL 7: A Guide to the Program and Applications
.
Chicago
:
SPSS Inc
.
Kallan, J.E. (
1993
).
Race, Intervening Variables, and Two Components of Low Birth Weight
.
Demography
,
30
,
489
506
. 10.2307/2061653
Klein, N.K., Hack, M., & Breslau, N. (
1989
).
Children Who Were Very Low Birth Weight: Development and Academic Achievement at Nine Years of Age
.
Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
,
10
,
32
37
. 10.1097/00004703-198902000-00007
Lagerstrom, M., Bremme, K., Eneroth, P., & Janson, C.G. (
1994
).
Long-Term Development for Girls and Boys at Age 16–18 as Related to Birth Weight and Gestational Age
.
International Journal of Psychophysiology
,
17
,
175
80
. 10.1016/0167-8760(94)90033-7
Magnus, P. (
1984
).
Further Evidence for a Significant Effect of Fetal Genes on Variation in Birth Weight
.
Clinical Genetics
,
26
,
289
96
. 10.1111/j.1399-0004.1984.tb01061.x
Marsh, H.W., Balla, J.R., & McDonald, R.P. (
1988
).
Goodness-of-Fit Indexes in Confirmatory Factor Analysis: The Effect of Sample Size
.
Psychological Bulletin
,
103
,
391
410
. 10.1037/0033-2909.103.3.391
McCormick, M.C. (
1985
).
The Contribution of Low Birth Weight to Infant Mortality and Childhood Morbidity
.
New England Journal of Medicine
,
312
,
82
90
. 10.1056/NEJM198501103120204
Morton, N.E. (
1955
).
The Inheritance of Human Birth Weight
.
Annals of Human Genetics
,
26
,
397
405
.
Nance, W.E., Kramer, A.A., Corey, L.A., Winter, P.M., & Eaves, L.J. (
1983
).
A Causal Analysis of Birth Weight in the Offspring of Monozygotic Twins
.
American Journal of Human Genetics
,
35
,
1211
23
.
Neale, M.C. (
1994
).
Mx: Statistical Modeling
. 2nd ed.
Richmond
:
Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University
.
Neale, M.C., & Cardon, L.R. (
1992
).
Methodology for Genetic Studies of Twins and Families
.
Dordrecht, The Netherlands
:
Kluwer
.
NLS Users’ Guide. 1994. Columbus: Ohio State University Press.
Plomin, R., & Daniels, D. (
1987
).
Why Are Children in the Same Family So Different From One Another?
.
Behavior and Brain Sciences
,
10
,
1
60
. 10.1017/S0140525X00055941
Plomin, R., DeFries, J.C., & McClearn, G.E. (
1990
).
Behavioral Genetics: A Primer
.
San Francisco
:
Freeman
.
Rodgers, J.L., Rowe, D.C., & Li, C. (
1994
).
Beyond Nature Versus Nurture: DF Analysis of Nonshared Influences on Problem Behaviors
.
Developmental Psychology
,
30
,
374
84
. 10.1037/0012-1649.30.3.374
Rodgers, J.L., Rowe, D.C., & May, K. (
1994
).
DF Analysis of NLSY IQ/Achievement Data: Nonshared Environmental Influences
.
Intelligence
,
19
,
157
77
. 10.1016/0160-2896(94)90011-6
Rose, S.A., Feldman, J.F., Rose, S.L., Wallace, I.F., & McCarton, C. (
1992
).
Behavior Problems at 3 and 6 Years: Prevalence and Continuity in Full-Terms and Preterms
.
Development and Psychopathology
,
4
,
361
74
. 10.1017/S0954579400000833
Rowe, D.C., & Cleveland, H.H. (
1997
).
Academic Achievement in African Americans and Whites: Are the Developmental Processes Similar?
.
Intelligence
,
23
,
205
28
. 10.1016/S0160-2896(96)90004-5
Rowe, D.C., Vazsonyi, A.T., & Flannery, D.J. (
1994
).
No More Than Skin Deep: Ethnic and Racial Similarity in Developmental Process
.
Psychology Review
,
101
,
396
413
. 10.1037/0033-295X.101.3.396
Rushton, J.P. (
1995
).
Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective
.
New Brunswick, NJ
:
Transaction
.
Rushton, J.P., & Bogaert, A.F. (
1987
).
Race Differences in Sexual Behavior: Testing an Evolutionary Hypothesis
.
Journal of Research in Personality
,
21
,
529
51
. 10.1016/0092-6566(87)90038-9
Sappenfield, W.M., Buehler, J.W., Binkin, N.J., Hogue, C.J.R., Strauss, L.T., & Smith, J.C. (
1987
).
Differences in Neonatal and Postnatal Mortality by Race, Birth Weight, and Gestational Age
.
Public Health Reports
,
102
,
182
91
.
Schoendorf, K.C., Hogue, C.J.R., Kleinman, J.C., & Rowley, D. (
1992
).
Mortality Among Infants of Black as Compared With White College-Educated Parents
.
New England Journal of Medicine
,
326
,
1522
26
. 10.1056/NEJM199206043262303
Sörbom, D. (
1974
).
A General Method for Studying Differences in Factor Means and Factor Structure Between Groups
.
British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology
,
27
,
229
39
.
Spurdle, A., & Jenkins, T. (
1991
).
Y Chromosome Probe p49a Detects Complex PvuII Haplotypes and Many New TaqI Haplotypes in Southern African Populations
.
American Journal of Human Genetics
,
50
,
107
25
.
Tomchek, S.D., & Lane, S.J. (
1993
).
Full-Term Low Birth Weight Infants: Etiology and Developmental Implications
.
Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics
,
13
,
43
65
.
Vlietinck, R., Derom, R., Neale, M.C., Maes, H., Van Loon, H., Derom, C., & Thiery, M. (
1989
).
Genetic and Environmental Variation in the Birth Weight of Twins
.
Behavior Genetics
,
19
,
151
61
. 10.1007/BF01065890
Weaver, R.F., & Hedrick, P.W. (
1989
).
Genetics
.
Dubuque
:
Brown
.
Williams, L.J., & Holahan, P.J. (
1994
).
Parsimony-Based Fit Indices for Multiple Indicator Models: Do They Work?
.
Structural Equation Modeling
,
1
,
161
89
. 10.1080/10705519409539970
Wilson, R.S. (
1984
).
Risk and Resilience in Early Mental Development
.
Developmental Psychology
,
21
,
795
805
. 10.1037/0012-1649.21.5.795