Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 1–10

The Dopamine Receptor D4 Gene (DRD4) Moderates Family Environmental Effects on ADHD

  • Michelle M. Martel
  • Molly Nikolas
  • Katherine Jernigan
  • Karen Friderici
  • Irwin Waldman
  • Joel T. Nigg
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10802-010-9439-5

Cite this article as:
Martel, M.M., Nikolas, M., Jernigan, K. et al. J Abnorm Child Psychol (2011) 39: 1. doi:10.1007/s10802-010-9439-5

Abstract

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a prime candidate for exploration of gene-by-environment interaction (i.e., G x E), particularly in relation to dopamine system genes, due to strong evidence that dopamine systems are dysregulated in the disorder. Using a G x E design, we examined whether the DRD4 promoter 120-bp tandem repeat polymorphism, previously associated with ADHD, moderated the effects of inconsistent parenting and marital conflict on ADHD or Oppositional-Defiant Disorder (ODD). Participants were 548 children with ADHD and non-ADHD comparison children and their parents. Homozygosity for the DRD4 promoter 120-bp tandem repeat insertion allele increased vulnerability for ADHD and ODD only in the presence of inconsistent parenting and appeared to increase susceptibility to the influence of increased child self-blame for marital conflict on ADHD inattention. DRD4 genotypes may interact with these proximal family environmental risk factors by increasing the individual’s responsivity to environmental contingencies.

Keywords

Attention ADHD Genetics Environmental effects 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle M. Martel
    • 1
  • Molly Nikolas
    • 2
  • Katherine Jernigan
    • 3
  • Karen Friderici
    • 3
  • Irwin Waldman
    • 4
  • Joel T. Nigg
    • 5
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of New OrleansNew OrleansUSA
  2. 2.Psychology DepartmentMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.Microbiology and Molecular GeneticsMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  4. 4.Psychology DepartmentEmory UniversityDruid HillsUSA
  5. 5.Psychiatry DepartmentOregon Health and Sciences UniversityPortlandUSA

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