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Genetics of Psychological Well-BeingThe role of heritability and genetics in positive psychology$
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Michael Pluess

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199686674

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199686674.001.0001

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Genes, environment, and psychological well-being

Genes, environment, and psychological well-being

(p.251) Chapter 15 Genes, environment, and psychological well-being
Genetics of Psychological Well-Being

Michael Pluess

Michael J. Meaney

Oxford University Press

The field of psychology has a long history of debating to what degree psychological traits are determined by genetic predispositions versus environmental factors. According to quantitative behavioral genetics studies, psychological well-being has a significant heritable genetic component. However, environmental factors consistently tend to explain more variance than genetic ones. While these findings imply that genes and environment have independent and distinctly quantifiable effects, a biological perspective suggests that any developmental outcome is the function of the dynamic and bidirectional interplay between genetic and environmental factors. This view is supported by recent molecular genetics studies on gene–environment interaction and epigenetics. Consequently, psychological well-being reflects the combined additive and multiplicative effect of multiple factors, including genes, environment, their interaction, as well as stochastic processes. Given this complex relationship between genes and environment, current methods and approaches are not yet able to precisely disentangle genetic and environmental contributions to psychological well-being.

Keywords:   psychological well-being, behavioral genetics, molecular genetics, gene–environment interaction, epigenetics, stochastic processes

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