Parental psychopathological risk is considered as one of the most crucial features associated with epigenetic modifications in offspring, which in turn are thought to be related to their emotional/behavioral profiles. The dopamine active transporter (DAT) gene is suggested to play a significant role in affective/behavioral regulation. On the basis of the previous literature, we aimed at verifying whether children's DAT1 polymorphisms moderated the relationship between parents' psychological profiles, children's emotional/behavioral functioning, and DAT1 methylation in a normative sample of 79 families with school-age children (Ntot = 237). Children's biological samples were collected through buccal swabs, while Symptom Check-List-90 item Revised, Adult Self Report, and Child Behavior Check-List/6-18 was administered to assess parental and children's psychological functioning. We found that higher maternal externalizing problems predicted the following: higher levels of children's DAT1 methylation at M1, but only among children with 10/10 genotype; higher levels of methylation at M2 among children with 10/10 genotype; while lower levels for children with a 9-repeat allele. There was also a positive relationship between fathers' externalizing problems and children's externalizing problems, only for children with a 9-repeat allele. Our findings support emerging evidence of the complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors in shaping children' emotional/behavioral functioning, contributing to the knowledge of risk variables for a child's development and psychological well-being.
|Journal||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 18 2019|
- Child Behavior
- DNA Methylation
- Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins/genetics
- Stress, Psychological