The dopamine receptor D4 gene (DRD4) moderates family environmental effects on ADHD

Michelle M. Martel, Molly Nikolas, Katherine Jernigan, Karen Friderici, Irwin Waldman, Joel T. Nigg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a prime candidate for exploration of gene-by-environment interaction (i.e., G x E), particularly in relation to dopamine system genes, due to strong evidence that dopamine systems are dysregulated in the disorder. Using a G x E design, we examined whether the DRD4 promoter 120-bp tandem repeat polymorphism, previously associated with ADHD, moderated the effects of inconsistent parenting and marital conflict on ADHD or Oppositional-Defiant Disorder (ODD). Participants were 548 children with ADHD and non-ADHD comparison children and their parents. Homozygosity for the DRD4 promoter 120-bp tandem repeat insertion allele increased vulnerability for ADHD and ODD only in the presence of inconsistent parenting and appeared to increase susceptibility to the influence of increased child self-blame for marital conflict on ADHD inattention. DRD4 genotypes may interact with these proximal family environmental risk factors by increasing the individual's responsivity to environmental contingencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • ADHD
  • Attention
  • Environmental effects
  • Genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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