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Disorganization, COMT, and Children's Social Behavior: The Norwegian Hypothesis of Legacy of Disorganized Attachment.

  • Author(s): Li, Zhi
  • Hygen, Beate W
  • Widaman, Keith F
  • Berg-Nielsen, Turid S
  • Wichstrøm, Lars
  • Belsky, Jay
  • et al.
Abstract

Why is disorganized attachment associated with punitive-controlling behavior in some, but caregiving-controlling in others? Hygen et al. (2014) proposed that variation in the Catechol-O-methyl transferase(COMT) Val158Met genotype explains this variation, providing preliminary data to this effect. We offer a conceptual replication, analyzing data on 560 children (males: 275) drawn from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. As predicted, competitive model-fitting indicated that disorganized infants carrying Met alleles engage in more positive behavior and less negative behavior than other children at age 5 and 11, with the reverse true of Val/Val homozygotes, seemingly consistent with caregiving-controlling and punitive-controlling styles, respectively, but only in the case of maternal and not teacher reports, thereby confirmating a relationship-specific hypothesis.

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