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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.

Author information

1
Department of Human Ecology, University of California, Davis Davis, CA, USA.
2
NTNU Social ScienceTrondheim, Norway; Department of Psychology, Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheim, Norway.
3
Graduate School of Education, University of California, Riverside Riverside, CA, USA.
4
Regional Center for Child and YouthMental Health and Child Welfare, Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway.

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.

KEYWORDS:

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

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