Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 107–127 | Cite as

The Association Between Breastfeeding Exposure and Duration, Neuropsychological Deficits, and Psychopathic Personality Traits in Offspring: The Moderating Role of 5HTTLPR

  • Dylan B. Jackson
  • Kevin M. Beaver
Original Paper


A wealth of research has revealed that a shorter duration of breastfeeding during infancy can increase the risk of various maladaptive traits, including neuropsychological deficits. Despite the number of studies that have been conducted on the topic, few studies have explored whether the effects of breastfeeding on neuropsychological functioning and personality features persist into adulthood. Furthermore, very little research to date has examined whether this relationship is moderated by specific indicators of genetic risk. The current study examines the direct and interactive effects of breastfeeding experiences and the serotonin transporter polymorphism (5HTTLPR) on neuropsychological deficits and psychopathic personality traits. Using data from the National Longitudinal study of Adolescent Health, we find that no exposure to breastfeeding and a shorter duration of breastfeeding significantly increase the risk of exhibiting neuropsychological deficits during adolescence and early adulthood as well as psychopathic personality traits during adulthood. The results also reveal a number of gene × environment interactions between 5HTTLPR, breastfeeding exposure and breastfeeding duration in the prediction of neuropsychological deficits, but not in the prediction of psychopathic personality traits.


Breastfeeding Neuropsychological deficits Psychopathic personality traits Genetic risk 5HTTLPR Serotonin transporter Moderating effects 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.King Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia

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