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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health