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Genetic and environmental influence on attachment disorganization.
J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2009 Aug; 50(8):952-61.JC

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Empirical studies demonstrate that maternal sensitivity is associated with attachment security in infancy, while maternal frightening/frightened behavior is related to attachment disorganization. However, attachment disorganization is also predicted by individual dispositions in infancy. Indeed, recent studies indicate a link between attachment disorganization and DRD4 gene polymorphisms, thus suggesting a genetic vulnerability for attachment disorganization. The aims of our study were twofold, to test a) a possible direct link between molecular genetic variations and attachment disorganization, and b) a possible gene-environment interaction with a moderating effect of early maternal caregiving.

METHODS

Attachment security and disorganization, as well as quality of maternal behavior were assessed in the infants of the Regensburg Longitudinal Study IV (N = 106) at the age of 12 months. DNA samples were collected in order to assess the exon III repeat polymorphism in the coding region and the -521 C/T single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the regulatory region of the DRD4 gene and a repeat polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene.

RESULTS

Significant associations were found between attachment disorganization and the short polymorphism of the serotonin transporter gene. Also, a gene-environment interaction indicated that this genetic association was only valid for infants of mothers exhibiting low responsiveness. No other significant genetic associations with attachment disorganization were apparent.

CONCLUSIONS

The study suggests a gene-environment interaction whereby biological determinants of attachment disorganization are moderated by social experiences. Different pathways of the development of attachment disorganization are discussed based on a bio-behavioral model of development.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Institute of Psychology, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany. Gottfried.Spangler@phil.uni-erlangen.deNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

19673052

Citation

Spangler, Gottfried, et al. "Genetic and Environmental Influence On Attachment Disorganization." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, vol. 50, no. 8, 2009, pp. 952-61.
Spangler G, Johann M, Ronai Z, et al. Genetic and environmental influence on attachment disorganization. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2009;50(8):952-61.
Spangler, G., Johann, M., Ronai, Z., & Zimmermann, P. (2009). Genetic and environmental influence on attachment disorganization. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 50(8), 952-61.
Spangler G, et al. Genetic and Environmental Influence On Attachment Disorganization. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2009;50(8):952-61. PubMed PMID: 19673052.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Genetic and environmental influence on attachment disorganization. AU - Spangler,Gottfried, AU - Johann,Monika, AU - Ronai,Zsolt, AU - Zimmermann,Peter, PY - 2009/8/13/entrez PY - 2009/8/13/pubmed PY - 2009/10/21/medline SP - 952 EP - 61 JF - Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines JO - J Child Psychol Psychiatry VL - 50 IS - 8 N2 - BACKGROUND: Empirical studies demonstrate that maternal sensitivity is associated with attachment security in infancy, while maternal frightening/frightened behavior is related to attachment disorganization. However, attachment disorganization is also predicted by individual dispositions in infancy. Indeed, recent studies indicate a link between attachment disorganization and DRD4 gene polymorphisms, thus suggesting a genetic vulnerability for attachment disorganization. The aims of our study were twofold, to test a) a possible direct link between molecular genetic variations and attachment disorganization, and b) a possible gene-environment interaction with a moderating effect of early maternal caregiving. METHODS: Attachment security and disorganization, as well as quality of maternal behavior were assessed in the infants of the Regensburg Longitudinal Study IV (N = 106) at the age of 12 months. DNA samples were collected in order to assess the exon III repeat polymorphism in the coding region and the -521 C/T single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the regulatory region of the DRD4 gene and a repeat polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene. RESULTS: Significant associations were found between attachment disorganization and the short polymorphism of the serotonin transporter gene. Also, a gene-environment interaction indicated that this genetic association was only valid for infants of mothers exhibiting low responsiveness. No other significant genetic associations with attachment disorganization were apparent. CONCLUSIONS: The study suggests a gene-environment interaction whereby biological determinants of attachment disorganization are moderated by social experiences. Different pathways of the development of attachment disorganization are discussed based on a bio-behavioral model of development. SN - 1469-7610 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/19673052/Genetic_and_environmental_influence_on_attachment_disorganization_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.02054.x DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -