The association between perinatal hypoxia exposure and externalizing symptoms and children’s decision making in conditions of uncertainty is moderated by DRD2 genotype

Roisin White, Lisa M. Gatzke-Kopp, Patrick J. Ryan, David M. Lydon-Staley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Variants of the DRD2 Taq1A polymorphism, which have been shown to result in functional differences in dopamine D2 receptors (D2R), have been linked to various externalizing outcomes in adults. However, the neurobiological processes that contribute to these associations are not well understood. The current study investigates gene × environment effects on teacher-rated externalizing behaviors and probabilistic decision making in a sample of 333 children (age 9) enrolled in an ongoing longitudinal study. Findings indicate that externalizing behaviors increased as a function of hypoxic exposure only among individuals carrying the A1 (A1+) allele. Results also indicate that willingness to pursue reward under conditions of maximum uncertainty (50% probability) decreased as a function of hypoxic exposure only among A1− individuals. Among A1 carriers, no association between probability decision making and hypoxic exposure emerged. These findings suggest that hypoxia could influence neural development through different biological pathways depending on D2 receptor genotype, and provide insight into the development of individual differences in behavior and decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-68
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental psychobiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this