Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared.
Cumulative-genetic plasticity, parenting and adolescent self-regulation
Article first published online: 6 OCT 2010
© 2010 The Authors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry © 2010 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 52, Issue 5, pages 619–626, May 2011
How to Cite
Belsky, J. and Beaver, K. M. (2011), Cumulative-genetic plasticity, parenting and adolescent self-regulation. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52: 619–626. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02327.x
- Issue published online: 15 APR 2011
- Article first published online: 6 OCT 2010
- Accepted for publication: 16 August 2010 Published online: 6 October 2010
Background: The capacity to control or regulate one’s emotions, cognitions and behavior is central to competent functioning, with limitations in these abilities associated with developmental problems. Parenting appears to influence such self-regulation. Here the differential-susceptibility hypothesis is tested that the more putative ‘plasticity alleles’ adolescents carry, the more positively and negatively influenced they will be by, respectively, supportive and unsupportive parenting.
Methods: One thousand, five hundred and eighty-six (1586) adolescents (n = 754 males; n = 832 females) enrolled in the American Add Health project were scored in terms of how many of 5 putative ‘plasticity alleles’ they carried – the 10R allele of DAT1, the A1 allele of DRD2, the 7R allele of DRD4, the short allele of 5HTTLPR, and the 2R/3R alleles of MAOA. Then the effect of the resultant index (ranging from 0 to 5) of cumulative-genetic plasticity in moderating effects of parenting on adolescent self-regulation was evaluated.
Results: Consistent with differential susceptibility, the more plasticity alleles males (but not females) carried, the more and less self-regulation they manifested under, respectively, supportive and unsupportive parenting conditions.
Conclusion: Adolescent males appear to vary for genetic reasons in their susceptibility to parenting vis-à-vis self-regulation, perhaps due to epistatic and/or epigenetic processes. G×E research may benefit from compositing candidate genes. To afford comparative evaluation of differential-susceptibility vs. diathesis-stress models of environmental action, future G×E work should focus on positive as well as negative environmental conditions and developmental outcomes.