Predicting childhood effortful control from interactions between early parenting quality and children's dopamine transporter gene haplotypes

Yi Li, Michael J. Sulik, Nancy Eisenberg, Tracy Spinrad, Kathryn Lemery, Daryn A. Stover, Brian C. Verrelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Children's observed effortful control (EC) at 30, 42, and 54 months (n = 145) was predicted from the interaction between mothers' observed parenting with their 30-month-olds and three variants of the solute carrier family C6, member 3 (SLC6A3) dopamine transporter gene (single nucleotide polymorphisms in intron8 and intron13, and a 40 base pair variable number tandem repeat [VNTR] in the 3′-untranslated region [UTR]), as well as haplotypes of these variants. Significant moderating effects were found. Children without the intron8-A/intron13-G, intron8-A/3′-UTR VNTR-10, or intron13-G/3′-UTR VNTR-10 haplotypes (i.e., haplotypes associated with the reduced SLC6A3 gene expression and thus lower dopamine functioning) appeared to demonstrate altered levels of EC as a function of maternal parenting quality, whereas children with these haplotypes demonstrated a similar EC level regardless of the parenting quality. Children with these haplotypes demonstrated a trade-off, such that they showed higher EC, relative to their counterparts without these haplotypes, when exposed to less supportive maternal parenting. The findings revealed a diathesis-stress pattern and suggested that different SLC6A3 haplotypes, but not single variants, might represent different levels of young children's sensitivity/responsivity to early parenting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-212
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 27 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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