Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 165-175

First online:

Association of Positive and Negative Parenting Behavior with Childhood ADHD: Interactions with Offspring Monoamine Oxidase A (MAO-A) Genotype

  • James J. LiAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
  • , Steve S. LeeAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles Email author 

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Relatively little is known about the potential interplay between genetic and environmental influences on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), including gene-environment interaction (G×E). There is evidence that parenting behavior interacts with offspring genotype in the development of externalizing problems, but studies have largely focused on explicit maltreatment rather than differentiated measures of parenting behavior, including positive and negative parenting. We tested the interactive effects of the 30-base pair variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) polymorphism of the monoamine oxidase A gene (MAO-A) with positive and negative parenting behavior on parent- and teacher ratings of inattention and hyperactivity symptoms among 150 6–9 year-old boys with and without ADHD. Negative parenting predicted parent and teacher ratings of inattention symptoms, but only among boys with high-activity MAO-A genotype. MAO-A genotype did not moderate the association of positive parenting and parent- and teacher ratings of ADHD. We discuss the potential role of interactive exchanges between parenting behavior and child genotype in the development and persistence of ADHD and related behavior problems.


Parenting ADHD Gene-environment interaction MAO-A