by Roy Otten, Edward D. Barker, Anja C. Huizink, Rutger C. M. E. Engels
Both environmental risk and genetic variation is believed to play a role in substance use. A candidate environmental variable is parenting. Recent studies have found support for the idea that the dopamine system affects the susceptibility to environmental influences. In the present study we will examine the interplay between effects of parental monitoring and the presence of the DRD4 7-repeat allele in adolescent lifetime cannabis use and the developmental course of cannabis use. Methods
A total of 311 adolescents participated in a five-wave longitudinal design. First, we conducted logistic regression analyses to examine the prospective associations between parental monitoring, the DRD4 polymorphism, their interaction and lifetime cannabis use. Second, individual growth parameters were calculated for frequency of cannabis use. Linear regression was used to assess the relationship between parental monitoring, the DRD4 polymorphism, their interaction, and the frequency of cannabis use. Results
There were no significant main effects of parental monitoring or the DRD4 polymorphism. However, both analyses showed that over a period of four years, a) when experiencing low levels of parental monitoring, individuals with the 7-repeat allele were more likely to show lifetime cannabis use and a stronger increase in frequency of cannabis use than individuals without this allele; b) when experiencing high levels of parental monitoring, individuals with the 7-repeat allele were less likely to show lifetime cannabis use and they showed a smaller increase in frequency of cannabis use than individuals without the 7-repeat allele. Conclusions
This study shows that carriers of the DRD4 7-repeat allele are disproportionally affected by the negative and positive effects of parental monitoring such that carriers of the DRD4 7-repeat allele, as compared to non-carriers, are more likely to use cannabis when levels of parental monitoring are low, and less likely to use cannabis when parental monitoring levels are high.