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Child’s oxytocin response to mother-child interaction: The contribution of child genetics and maternal behavior

Baião, R; Fearon, RMP; Belsky, J; Baptista, J; Carneiro, A; Pinto, R; Nogueira, M; ... Mesquita, A; + view all (2019) Child’s oxytocin response to mother-child interaction: The contribution of child genetics and maternal behavior. Psychoneuroendocrinology , 102 pp. 79-83. 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.11.022.

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Abstract

The oxytocinergic system is a primary biological system involved in regulating a child’s needs for bonding and for protection from threats. It is responsive to social experiences in close relationships, though evidence across studies is not entirely consistent. Guided by previous literature, we investigated individual and environmental factors predicting and presumably affecting children’s oxytocin (OT) response during mother-child interaction. by focusing on children’s OXTR genotype, and maternal behavior, respectively. This was achieved by assessing salivary OT levels of 88 Portuguese preschoolers prior to and following a mother-child interaction task, and by genotyping children’s OXTR SNP rs53576. Maternal interactive behavior was assessed using Ainsworth scales. Results indicated that child genotype and mother’s sensitive responsiveness interacted in predicting change in child OT concentrations from before to after the interaction. Specifically, Genotypic differences emerged under conditions of low maternal sensitive responsiveness: OT levels increased over time for children with the GG genotype when maternal sensitive responsiveness was low, but no such genotypic differences were evident when mothers were highly sensitive responsive. Findings provide preliminary support for the notion that increased understanding of children’s OT and close relationships requires consideration of both individual and environmental factors.

Type: Article
Title: Child’s oxytocin response to mother-child interaction: The contribution of child genetics and maternal behavior
DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.11.022
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.11.022
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: OXTR, Oxytocin, Salivary oxytocin, Maternal behavior, GXE interaction
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10064168
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