The Contribution of Maternal ADHD Symptomatology, Maternal DAT1, and Home Atmosphere to Child ADHD Symptomatology at 7 Years of Age Academic Article uri icon


  • Children of mothers with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have an increased genetic and environmental risk for ADHD. The unique and interactive contributions of a maternal dopamine receptor gene (DAT1), maternal ADHD symptoms (hyperactive- impulsive, inattentive), and home atmosphere to the prediction of ADHD symptoms (hyperactive- impulsive, inattentive) in 7- year-old boys (N = 96) were examined using data from a longitudinal study of familial risk for ADHD. During the first 6 months of the study, mothers and their spouses completed a questionnaire about the mother’s ADHD symptoms. Home atmosphere questionnaire data were collected 4 years later. At the 7-year assessment, mothers reported on their child’s ADHD symptoms. Negative home atmosphere was significantly associated with child hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive symptoms. Maternal inattentive symptoms were significantly correlated with both child symptom dimensions. Regression models, with child genotype and maternal education controlled, showed main effects for maternal inattentive symptoms, maternal DAT1 10/10 genotype, and home atmosphere in the prediction of child inattentive symptoms. Only home atmosphere predicted child hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. There was a significant home atmosphere x maternal hyperactive-impulsive symptoms interaction in the prediction of child hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. Boys with higher levels of symptoms came from homes characterized by higher levels of negative atmosphere and had mothers with higher levels of hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. There was also a trend (p = 0.075) for a maternal DAT1 x home atmosphere interaction. Boys with higher levels of inattentive symptoms came from homes with higher levels of negative atmosphere and had mothers with the homozygous 10/10 genotype. The maternal heterozygous 9/10 genotype did not predict child symptoms.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017