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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Genetic Moderation of Intervention Efficacy: Dopaminergic Genes, The Incredible Years, and Externalizing Behavior in Children.

  • Author(s): Chhangur, Rabia R
  • Weeland, Joyce
  • Overbeek, Geertjan
  • Matthys, Walter
  • Orobio de Castro, Bram
  • van der Giessen, Danielle
  • Belsky, Jay
  • et al.

This study investigated whether children scoring higher on a polygenic plasticity index based on five dopaminergic genes (DRD4, DRD2, DAT1, MAOA, and COMT) benefited the most from the Incredible Years (IY) parent program. Data were used from a randomized controlled trial including 341 Dutch families with 4- to 8-year-old children (55.7% boys) showing moderate to high levels of problem behavior. IY proved to be most effective in decreasing parent-reported (but not observed) externalizing behavior in boys (but not girls) carrying more rather than fewer dopaminergic plasticity alleles; this Gene × Intervention effect was most pronounced in the case of boys whose parents' manifested the most positive change in parenting in response to the intervention. These results proved robust across a variety of sampling specifications (e.g., intention to treat, ethnicity).

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