A person-centered data analytic approach to dopaminergic polygenic moderation of child maltreatment exposure


Handley, Elizabeth D.; Russotti, Justin; Ross, Andrew J.; Toth, Sheree L.; & Cicchetti, Dante (2023). A person-centered data analytic approach to dopaminergic polygenic moderation of child maltreatment exposure. Developmental Psychobiology. vol. 65 (5)


The present study illustrates the utility of latent class analysis, a person-centered data analytic approach, as an innovative method for identifying naturally occurring patterns of polygenic risk, specifically within the dopaminergic system. Moreover, this study tests whether latent classes of polygenic variation moderate the effect of child maltreatment exposure on internalizing symptoms among African ancestry youth. African ancestry youth were selected for this study because youth of color are overrepresented in the child welfare system and because African ancestry individuals are significantly underrepresented in genomics research. Results identified three latent classes of dopaminergic gene variation. Class 1 was marked predominately by homozygous minor alleles, Class 2 was characterized by homozygous major and heterozygous presentations, and Class 3 was marked by heterozygous alleles on the DAT-1 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and a combination of homozygous major and minor alleles on the other SNPs. Results indicated that a greater number of maltreatment subtypes experienced were associated with higher internalizing symptoms only for children with the latent polygenic Class 2 pattern. This latent class was distinctly characterized by more homozygous major or heterozygous allelic presentations along all three DAT-1 SNPs. This significant latent polygenic class by environment interaction was replicated in an independent replication sample. Together, findings suggest that African ancestry children with a pattern of dopaminergic variation characterized by this specific combination of polygenic variation are more vulnerable to developing internalizing symptoms following maltreatment exposure, relative to their peers with other dopamine-related polygenic patterns.







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Journal Article

Journal Title

Developmental Psychobiology


Handley, Elizabeth D.
Russotti, Justin
Ross, Andrew J.
Toth, Sheree L.
Cicchetti, Dante

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