Examining the Role of Mother-Child Interactions and DNA Methylation of the Oxytocin Receptor Gene in Understanding Child Controlling Attachment Behaviors

Examining the Role of Mother-Child Interactions and DNA Methylation of the Oxytocin Receptor Gene in Understanding Child Controlling Attachment Behaviors

Examining the Role of Mother-Child Interactions and DNA Methylation of the Oxytocin Receptor Gene in Understanding Child Controlling Attachment Behaviors

Examining the Role of Mother-Child Interactions and DNA Methylation of the Oxytocin Receptor Gene in Understanding Child Controlling Attachment Behaviorss

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Référence bibliographique [21644]

Lecompte, Vanessa, Robins, Stephanie, King, Leonora, Solomonova, Elizaveta, Khan, Nargis, Moss, Ellen, Nagy, Corina, Feeley, Nancy, Gold, Ian, Hayton, Barbara, Turecki, Gustavo et Zelkowitz, Phyllis. 2021. «Examining the Role of Mother-Child Interactions and DNA Methylation of the Oxytocin Receptor Gene in Understanding Child Controlling Attachment Behaviors ». Attachment & Human Development, vol. 23, no 1, p. 37-55.

Fiche synthèse

1. Objectifs


Intentions :
«The first objective of this study was to examine direct associations between our variables of interest, i.e. between maternal interactive behaviors (sensitivity and structuring), methylation of the OXTR [oxytocin receptor] gene in the child and child controlling attachment (punitive and caregiving).» (p. 43) The «second objective was to test the moderating role of OXTR methylation in the potential relationship between maternal interactive behaviors and controlling-punitive and/or controlling-caregiving behaviors.» (p. 43)

Questions/Hypothèses :
«Given the parenting characteristics of mothers of children with controlling behaviors, it was expected that lower maternal sensitivity and structuring behaviors would be related to greater child controlling attachment behaviors, of either a punitive or caregiving nature. […] As for methylation of the OXTR, it was expected that levels of child methylation would be related to controlling behaviors.» (p. 43) Also, «[i]t is expected that the interaction between environmental factors, namely maternal sensitivity and structuring behaviors, and patterns of child OXTR methylation will influence child controlling behaviors (of either a punitive or caregiving nature).» (p. 43)

2. Méthode


Échantillon/Matériau :
«Participants in this study were mother-child dyads who were part of a larger longitudinal study focused on perinatal mental health. A community sample of women (n = 341) were initially recruited during the early stages of pregnancy through prenatal clinics during the first routine examination, and from a birthing center in Montreal, Quebec. An additional sample of women (n = 40) were recruited from the Perinatal Mental Health unit of the hospital’s psychiatry department.» (p. 43) «[T]he final sample at follow-up, 2.9 years after birth, consisted of 161 (community = 136, clinical = 25) mothers and their children […].» (p. 44)

Instruments :
Grille d’analyse

Type de traitement des données :
Analyse statistique

3. Résumé


The results of the study show that «[c]oncerning the first objective of the study, a marginally significant association […] was obtained between lower maternal sensitivity and greater controlling-caregiving behaviors, and a significant correlation was found between low structure and greater controlling-punitive behaviors. By definition, the sensitivity scale refers to maternal behaviors that reflect responsiveness, flexibility and promote affect regulation. These are maternal behaviors that are focused on the affective states of the child and that promote affective reciprocity. The fact that this sensitivity scale is marginally associated with child controlling-caregiving behaviors and not with punitive behaviors may indicate that low sensitivity possibly triggers emotions and behaviors in the child that may encourage him or her to compensate for this lack of maternal sensitivity by adopting overly cheerful, positive and caring behaviors toward the mother.» (p. 49) «Concerning the second objective, no moderation effect of OXTR was found in the association between the two interaction subscales and controlling behaviors. The fact that the moderation analyses proved non-significant indicates that other variables may be involved in this association between parental behaviors and attachment.» (p. 51)