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.
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Because racial-ethnic differences have been reported in MAO-A functioning (Sabol et al. 1998), we also report results for Caucasians boys only (n = 70). The results were mostly consistent with our overall model for all boys. The interaction of negative parenting and MAO-A was significant for parent- (B = .63, SE = .24. p < .01) and teacher-rated inattention (B = 3.23, SE = 1.47, p = .04), but not for parent or (B = .18, SE = .22, p = .41) teacher-rated hyperactivity (B = .98, SE = 1.13, p = .40). The association on negative parenting and parent-rated inattention symptoms was only significant for boys with the high-activity genotype (B = .50, SE = .18, p > .01), but not significant for teacher ratings of inattention (B = −.11, SE = .24, p = .66). Furthermore, the association of negative parenting and inattention was not significant for boys with the low activity genotype (parent model: B = −.33, SE = .33, p = .33; teacher model: B = .24, SE = .87, p = .80). For positive parenting, the interaction of MAO-A and positive parenting was not significant for parent-rated (B = −.22, SE = .22, p = .32) or teacher rated inattention (B = −.25, SE = .27, p = .36). Similarly, the interaction of positive parenting and MAO-A was not significant for parent-rated and teacher-rated hyperactivity (B = .11, SE = .19, p = .56 and B = −.35, SE = .21, p = .11, respectively).
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This work was partially supported by the Consortium of Neuropsychiatric Phenomics (CNP) (NIH Roadmap for Medical Research grant UL1-DE019580, RL1DA024853) and NIH Grant 1R03AA020186-01 to Steve S. Lee.
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Li, J.J., Lee, S.S. Association of Positive and Negative Parenting Behavior with Childhood ADHD: Interactions with Offspring Monoamine Oxidase A (MAO-A) Genotype. J Abnorm Child Psychol 40, 165–175 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-011-9553-z
- Gene-environment interaction