Early life stress, MAOA, and gene-environment interactions predict behavioral disinhibition in children
Article first published online: 9 SEP 2009
Journal compilation © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society. No claim to original US government works
Genes, Brain and Behavior
Volume 9, Issue 1, pages 65–74, February 2010
How to Cite
Enoch, M.-A., Steer, C. D., Newman, T. K., Gibson, N. and Goldman, D. (2010), Early life stress, MAOA, and gene-environment interactions predict behavioral disinhibition in children. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 9: 65–74. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-183X.2009.00535.x
- Issue published online: 28 JAN 2010
- Article first published online: 9 SEP 2009
- Received 12 May 2009, revised 5 August 2009 and 28 August 2009, accepted for publication 31 August 2009
- conduct disturbances;
Several, but not all, studies have shown that the monoamine oxidase A functional promoter polymorphism (MAOA-LPR) interacts with childhood adversity to predict adolescent and adult antisocial behavior. However, it is not known whether MAOA-LPR interacts with early life (pre-birth–3 years) stressors to influence behavior in prepubertal children.
The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, UK, is a community-representative cohort study of children followed from pre-birth onwards. The impact of family adversity from pre-birth to age 3 years and stressful life events from 6 months to 7 years on behavioral disinhibition was determined in 7500 girls and boys. Behavioral disinhibition measures were: mother-reported hyperactivity and conduct disturbances (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire) at ages 4 and 7 years.
In both sexes, exposure to family adversity and stressful life events in the first 3 years of life predicted behavioral disinhibition at age 4, persisting until age 7. In girls, MAOA-LPR interacted with stressful life events experienced from 6 months to 3.5 years to influence hyperactivity at ages 4 and 7. In boys, the interaction of MAOA-LPR with stressful life events between 1.5 and 2.5 years predicted hyperactivity at age 7 years. The low activity MAOA-LPR variant was associated with increased hyperactivity in girls and boys exposed to high stress. In contrast, there was no MAOA-LPR interaction with family adversity.
In a general population sample of prepubertal children, exposure to common stressors from pre-birth to 3 years predicted behavioral disinhibition, and MAOA-LPR– stressful life event interactions specifically predicted hyperactivity.