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ERIC Number: EJ1165306
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Jan
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
"NR3C1" Methylation as a Moderator of the Effects of Maternal Support and Stress on Insecure Attachment Development
Bosmans, Guy; Young, Jami F.; Hankin, Benjamin L.
Developmental Psychology, v54 n1 p29-38 Jan 2018
We examined the prediction that the interaction between Glucocorticoid Receptor Gene ("NR3C1") methylation, stress, and experienced maternal support predicts anxious and avoidant attachment development. This was tested in a general population sample of 487 children and adolescents (44% boys, M[subscript age] = 11.84, SD[subscript age] = 2.4). These children were followed over a period of 18 months. In line with the prediction, we found that "NR3C1" methylation moderates the effect of maternal support during stress on anxious attachment development 18 months later. More stressed children who experienced less maternal support reported increased anxious attachment when their "NR3C1" gene was highly methylated. This effect could not be explained by children's level of psychopathology. No effects were found for attachment avoidance. These data provide the first prospective evidence that epigenetic processes are involved in attachment development.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHHS), Rockville, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado; New Jersey
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Child Behavior Checklist
Grant or Contract Numbers: R01MH077178; R01MH077195; R01MH105501; R21MH102210