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Front Psychol. 2016 Jul 12;7:1013. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01013. eCollection 2016.

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

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Department of Human Ecology, University of California, Davis Davis, CA, USA.
NTNU Social ScienceTrondheim, Norway; Department of Psychology, Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheim, Norway.
Graduate School of Education, University of California, Riverside Riverside, CA, USA.
Regional Center for Child and YouthMental Health and Child Welfare, Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway.


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.


COMT; attachment disorganization; confirmatory analyses; replication; social behavior

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