Parental control and the dopamine D2 receptor gene (DRD2) interaction on emotional eating in adolescence

T. van Strien, H.M. Snoek, C.S. van der Zwaluw, R.C. Engels

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    52 Citations (Scopus)


    The present study addresses the emergence of emotional eating in adolescence in relation to maternal or paternal psychological control. A reduction of food intake is considered the biological natural response to distress, therefore we tested whether the a-typical stress response of emotional eating develops in interaction with genetic vulnerability. Carrying the A1 allele of the dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) gene Taq1A polymorphism (rs1800497) is associated with reduced dopamine D2 receptor availability in the brain. We hypothesized that carrying this allele would confer risk for the development of emotional eating, particularly so in adolescents with adverse rearing experiences. Participants were 279 Dutch adolescents (average age of 13.4) that participated in a prospective study with a four-year follow-up. We found a moderator effect of DRD2 genotype on the relation between both maternal and paternal psychological control and increases in emotional eating in both sexes. Adolescents showed only an increase in emotional eating in relation to high psychological control if they carried at least one DRD2 A1 allele. This study is the first to show that the relationship between adverse rearing experiences and emotional eating might be dependent on genetic make-up.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)255-261
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • psychological control
    • adjustment
    • behavior
    • overweight
    • depression
    • stress
    • reward
    • food
    • polymorphism
    • sensitivity


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