Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared.
Research Review: Genetic vulnerability or differential susceptibility in child development: the case of attachment
Article first published online: 12 DEC 2007
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 48, Issue 12, pages 1160–1173, December 2007
How to Cite
Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J. and Van IJzendoorn, M. H. (2007), Research Review: Genetic vulnerability or differential susceptibility in child development: the case of attachment. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48: 1160–1173. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2007.01801.x
- Issue published online: 12 DEC 2007
- Article first published online: 12 DEC 2007
- Manuscript accepted 30 May 2007
- gene–environment interaction;
- differential susceptibility;
- disorganized attachment;
- behavior problems;
Gene–environment interactions interpreted in terms of differential susceptibility may play a large part in the explanation of individual differences in human development. Reviewing studies on the behavioral and molecular genetics of attachment, we present evidence for interactions between genetic and environmental factors explaining individual differences in attachment security and disorganization. In particular, the DRD4 7-repeat polymorphism seems associated with an increased risk for disorganized attachment, but only when combined with environmental risk. Gene–environment (G × E) interactions may be interpreted as genetic vulnerability or differential susceptibility. We found support for the differential susceptibility hypothesis predicting not only more negative outcomes for susceptible children in unfavorable environments, but also positive outcomes for susceptible children in favorable environments.