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The BDNF Val66Met Polymorphism Interacts with Maternal Parenting Influencing Adolescent Depressive Symptoms: Evidence of Differential Susceptibility Model

  • Author(s): Zhang, L
  • Li, Z
  • Chen, J
  • Li, X
  • Zhang, J
  • Belsky, J
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2015 Springer Science+Business Media New York Although depressive symptoms are common during adolescence, little research has examined gene–environment interaction on youth depression. This study chose the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene, tested the interaction between a functional polymorphism resulting amino acid substitution of valine (Val) to methionine (Met) in the proBDNF protein at codon 66 (Val66Met), and maternal parenting on youth depressive symptoms in a sample of 780 community adolescents of Chinese Han ethnicity (aged 11–17, M = 13.6, 51.3 % females). Participants reported their depressive symptoms and perceived maternal parenting. Results indicated the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism significantly moderated the influence of maternal warmth-reasoning, but not harshness-hostility, on youth depressive symptoms. Confirmatory model evaluation indicated that the interaction effect involving warmth-reasoning conformed to the differential-susceptibility rather than diathesis-stress model of person-X-environment interaction. Thus, Val carriers experienced less depressive symptoms than Met homozygotes when mothering was more positive but more symptoms when mothering was less positive. The findings provided evidence in support of the differential susceptibility hypothesis of youth depressive symptoms and shed light on the importance of examining the gene–environment interaction from a developmental perspective.

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