Electrodermal reactivity during the Trier Social Stress Test for children: Interaction between the serotonin transporter polymorphism and children's attachment representation

Authors

  • Renske Gilissen,

    1. Centre for Child & Family Studies, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, the Netherlands
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  • Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Child & Family Studies, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, the Netherlands
    • Centre for Child & Family Studies, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, the Netherlands.
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  • Marinus H. van IJzendoorn,

    1. Centre for Child & Family Studies, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, the Netherlands
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  • Mariëlle Linting

    1. Centre for Child & Family Studies, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, the Netherlands
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Abstract

This study explores the relation between variations in the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR; long vs. short allele), the child's attachment representation (assessed with the Attachment Story Completion Task, reflecting the security of the parent-child relationship), and electrodermal reactivity during a public speaking task, the Trier Social Stress Test for Children (TSST-C) in a sample of 92 7-year-old. Electrodermal reactivity during the TSST-C was not directly associated with variations in 5-HTT. However, there was a significant gene-environment interaction effect of 5-HTT and attachment security on electrodermal reactivity. Results are interpreted in terms of cumulative protection: Children with a secure attachment representation as well as long 5-HTT alleles appeared to be less stressed during the TSST-C. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol 50: 615–625, 2008.

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