Disorganization, COMT, and children's social behavior: The norwegian hypothesis of legacy of disorganized attachment
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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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.