Preschool children without 7-repeat DRD4 gene more likely to develop disorganized attachment style.McGill Sci Undergrad Res J. 2015 Mar; 10(1):31-36.MS
The current paper aimed to explore the effects of birth weight and the 7-repeat allele in Exon III of the dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) gene on the development of disorganized attachment, a potential endophenotype of depression. Infants born with low birth weight have been shown to be at higher risk for later neurological impairments, psychological disorders or behavioural problems. The DRD4 gene is critical for the cognitive and emotional processes that are sub-served by neural circuits in the prefrontal cortex. This paper examined the main effect of birth weight and DRD4 on the development of disorganized attachment.
Data was used from the Maternal Adversity, Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment (MAVAN) project. The sample consisted of 251 mother-child dyads with complete data. Attachment style was assessed using the modified separation-reunion procedure.
There was no main effect for birth weight on disorganized attachment, (b = -0.001, p = 0.998). There was, however, a main effect for the DRD4 7-repeat polymorphism on disorganized attachment (b = -1.120, p = 0.004).
Compared to studies of similar design, the sample size in this study was relatively small. Additionally, a significant number of subjects did not have complete data.
Children without the DRD4 7-repeat allele were more likely to have disorganized attachment than children with the DRD4 7-repeat allele. This indicates that the 7-repeate allele of the DRD4 gene may actually serve as a protective factor against disorganized attachment.