DRD4 and DRD2 genes, parenting, and adolescent delinquency: Longitudinal evidence for a gene by environment interaction

Rabia R. Chhangur*, Geertjan Overbeek, Maaike Verhagen, Joyce Weeland, Walter Matthys, Rutger C.M.E. Engels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Gene by environment (GXE) research has been increasingly appreciated as it relates to the development of psychopathology. In particular, interactions between dopaminergic genotypes and maladaptive parenting have been prominently in the spotlight. In this study, we investigated whether high parental psychological control and low support would be differentially related to the development of delinquency in adolescents based on their genetic background (i.e., DRD4 and DRD2 genotypes). Data were derived from a 5-wave longitudinal survey among adolescents (N 308; Mage 13.4 at Time 1). After accounting for possible passive genetic effects (i.e., parents' genotype, Parents' Genotype X Adolescents' Genotype, and Parents' Genotype X Parenting, cf. Keller, 2014), latent growth modeling revealed a significant interaction of DRD2 Parental Support, indicating that adolescents with the DRD2 A2A2 genotype were more vulnerable for low parental support, developing more delinquent behavior as a consequence. No significant interactions emerged for DRD4 with parental support and psychological control, nor for DRD2 with parental psychological control. The observed effect size of the identified DRD2 X parental support interaction was modest, emphasizing that replication is essential to confirm the present evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-802
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Delinquency
  • DRD2
  • DRD4
  • Gene by environment interactions
  • Parenting


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