NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ848289
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Aug
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9630
Genetic and Environmental Influence on Attachment Disorganization
Spangler, Gottfried; Johann, Monika; Ronai, Zsolt; Zimmermann, Peter
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, v50 n8 p952-961 Aug 2009
Background: Empirical studies demonstrate that maternal sensitivity is associated with attachment security in infancy, while maternal frightening/frightened behavior is related to attachment disorganization. However, attachment disorganization is also predicted by individual dispositions in infancy. Indeed, recent studies indicate a link between attachment disorganization and DRD4 gene polymorphisms, thus suggesting a genetic vulnerability for attachment disorganization. The aims of our study were twofold, to test a) a possible direct link between molecular genetic variations and attachment disorganization, and b) a possible gene-environment interaction with a moderating effect of early maternal caregiving. Methods: Attachment security and disorganization, as well as quality of maternal behavior were assessed in the infants of the Regensburg Longitudinal Study IV (N = 106) at the age of 12 months. DNA samples were collected in order to assess the exon III repeat polymorphism in the coding region and the -521 CT single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the regulatory region of the DRD4 gene and a repeat polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene. Results: Significant associations were found between attachment disorganization and the short polymorphism of the serotonin transporter gene. Also, a gene-environment interaction indicated that this genetic association was only valid for infants of mothers exhibiting low responsiveness. No other significant genetic associations with attachment disorganization were apparent. Conclusions: The study suggests a gene-environment interaction whereby biological determinants of attachment disorganization are moderated by social experiences. Different pathways of the development of attachment disorganization are discussed based on a bio-behavioral model of development.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A