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

  • Author(s): Chhangur, RR
  • Weeland, J
  • Overbeek, G
  • Matthys, W
  • Orobio de Castro, B
  • van der Giessen, D
  • Belsky, J
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2016 The Authors. Child Development © 2016 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc. 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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