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A genetic basis for attachment disorganization in infants

Dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) gene polymorphism is associated with attachment disorganization in infants

About 15% of one-year-old infants in non-clinical low-risk and up to 80% in high-risk (e.g. maltreated) populations show extensive disorganized attachment behavior in the moderately stressful Ainsworth Strange Situation Test. It has also been found that disorganization of early attachment is a major risk factor for the development of childhood behavior problems. The authors report an association between the DRD4 III exon 48 basepair repeat polymorphism and attachment disorganization. The 7 repeat allele was significantly more frequent in infants with disorganized attachment behavior (71%) compared to non-disorganized infants (29%). The estimated relative risk for disorganized attachment was four-fold among children carrying the 7-repeat allele. Attachment disorganization in infancy has been explained primarily by inappropriate care-giving; our finding suggests a genetic susceptibility to the collapse of organized attachment strategy under stress.


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Contact: Ava Martin
molecularpsychiatry@mednet.ucla.edu
310-206-6739
Molecular Psychiatry
31-Oct-2000


Page: 1

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