Aims The aims of the present study were to determine the direct effect of DRD2 and DRD4, as well as their interaction with parenting (i.e. rejection, overprotection and emotional warmth), on the development of regular alcohol and cannabis use in 1192 Dutch adolescents from the general population. Methods Information was obtained by self-report questionnaires. Perceived rejection, overprotection and emotional warmth were assessed at age 10-12. Regular alcohol and cannabis use were determined at age 15-18 and defined as the consumption of alcohol on 10 or more occasions in the past four weeks, and the use of cannabis on 4 or more occasions in the past four weeks. Models were adjusted for age, sex, parental alcohol or cannabis use, and externalizing behavior. Results Carrying the A1 allele of the DRD2 TaqIA polymorphism, or the 7 repeat DRD4, was not directly related to regular alcohol or cannabis use. In addition, adolescent carriers of these genetic risk markers were not more susceptible to the influence of less optimal parenting. Main effects for parenting indicated that overprotection increased the risk of regular alcohol use, whereas the risk of cannabis use was enhanced by parental rejection and buffered by emotional warmth. Conclusions Our findings do not support an association between DRD2/DRD4 and regular alcohol and cannabis use in adolescents. Given the substance-specific influences of rejection, overprotection and emotional warmth, these parenting factors might be promising candidates for prevention work.
Background. The aim was to identify risk indicators from preadolescence (age period 10-12) that significantly predict unfavorable deviations from normal anxiety development throughout adolescence (age period 10-17 years). Methods. Anxiety symptoms were assessed in a community sample of 2,220 boys and girls at three time-points across a 5-year interval. Risk indicators were measured at baseline and include indicators from the child, family, and peer domain. Associations with anxiety were measured with multilevel growth curve analyses. Results. A stable difference in anxiety over adolescence was found between high and low levels of a range of child factors (frustration, effortful control), family factors (emotional warmth received from parents, lifetime parental internalizing problems), and peer factor (victims of bullying) (P<.001). In contrast, the difference in anxiety between high and low levels of factors, such as self-competence, unfavorable parenting styles, and bully victims, decreased over adolescence (P<.001). For other family factors, associations were weaker (.05<P<.001). Associations with parental education and family composition were not significant. Adjustment for concurrent depressive symptoms attenuated the associations, but those that were significant at P<.001 remained to be so. Specificity for anxiety subtypes (generalized anxiety, separation anxiety, social phobia, panic, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms) was reported for each association. Conclusions. Several child, family, and peer factors measured in preadolescence were risk indicators of high levels of anxiety symptoms throughout adolescence. Some factors (such as rejective parenting) were vulnerability indicators for anxiety in early adolescence only, whereas other factors (such as peer victimization) were indicators of long-term elevated anxiety levels.
Adolescent family adversity is a considerable adaptive challenge in an increasingly turbulent developmental period. Using data from a prospective population cohort of 2230 Dutch adolescents, we tested risk-buffering interactions between adolescent family adversity and selfregulation capacities on mental health. We used two adaptive self-regulation capacities that could allow adolescents to manage relatively well with family adversity: (1) parent-reported effortful control, and (2) an attentional flexibility (in this case, set-shifting) task. Adolescent family adversity was associated with internalizing problems and externalizing problems. The risk-buffering effects of effortful control were found for externalizing problems but not or internalizing problems. There were no risk-buffering effects of attentional flexibility on both types of mental health problems. Effortful control is likely to benefit adolescents’ ability to channel their frustrations in adaptive ways in the presence of family adversity. Additionally, (attentional) set-shifting tasks might have a limited predictive value for risk-buffering research.
Psychologists, with their long-standing tradition of studying mechanistic processes, can make important contributions to further characterizing the risk associated with genes identified as influencing risk for psychiatric disorders. We report one such effort with respect to CHRM2, which codes for the cholinergic muscarinic 2 receptor and was of interest originally for its association with alcohol dependence. We tested for association between CHRM2 and prospectively measured externalizing behavior in a longitudinal, community-based sample of adolescents, as well as for moderation of this association by parental monitoring. We found evidence for an interaction in which the association between the genotype and externalizing behaviour was stronger in environments with lower parental monitoring. There was also suggestion of a crossover effect, in which the genotype associated with the highest levels of externalizing behavior under low parental monitoring had the lowest levels of externalizing behavior at the extreme high end of parental monitoring. The difficulties involved in distinguishing mechanisms of gene-environment interaction are discussed.
This article focused on the effect of parental divorce on the time it took adolescents to initiate their first romantic relationships. To examine this effect, individual differences in temperament and pubertal development, and the age of the adolescent at the time of divorce were taken into account. The hypotheses were tested using event history analysis with a representative sample of 1487 Dutch adolescents. The results indicated that marital dissolution sped up the transition to first dating relationship, but only when it was experienced in early adolescence (between the ages of 11 and 13). The results are discussed in light of findings that stressors which occur during transitional periods, such as the entry into adolescence, can have stronger effects on adjustment than if they are experienced at another time.
The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between parental religiosity, parental harmony on the subject of religiosity, and the mental health of pre-adolescents. In a community-based sample of 2,230 pre-adolescents (10-12 years), mental health problems were assessed using self-report (Youth Self-Report, YSR), parental report (Child Behavior Checklist, CBCL) as well as teacher report (Teacher Checklist for Psychopathology, TCP). Information about the religiosity of mother, the religiosity of father and religious harmony between the parents was obtained by parent report. The influence of maternal religiosity on internalizing symptoms depended on the religious harmony between parents. This was particularly apparent on the CBCL. Higher levels of internalizing symptoms were associated with parental religious disharmony when combined with passive maternal religiosity. Boys scored themselves as having more externalizing symptoms in case of religiously disharmonious parents. The levels of internalizing and externalizing symptoms in pre-adolescents were not influenced by parental religiosity. Religious disharmony between parents is a risk factor for internalizing problems when the mother is passive religious. Religious disharmony is a risk factor on its own for externalizing problems amongst boys. Parental religious activity and parental harmony play a role in the mental health of pre-adolescents.