Oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) and deviant peer affiliation: A gene-environment interaction in adolescent antisocial behavior

Iro Fragkaki, Maaike Cima, Maaike Verhagen, Dominique F Maciejewski, Marco P Boks, Pol A C van Lier, Hans M Koot, Susan J T Branje, Wim H J Meeus

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Although the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) is involved in aggression and social affiliation, it has not been examined in gene-environment interaction studies. This longitudinal study examined the effect of genetic variants in OXTR and its gene-environment interaction with perceived deviant peer affiliation in the trajectories of antisocial behavior in 323 adolescents (182 males) from 13 to 18 years. Annual assessments of reactive and proactive aggression, delinquency, and friends' delinquency, as well as DNA at age 17 were collected. Gene-based tests yielded no main effect of OXTR, but revealed a significant gene-environment interaction in proactive aggression and delinquency. Variation in the OXTR might affect the influence of deviant peer affiliation on antisocial behavior, contributing to a better understanding of individual differences in antisocial behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-101
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of youth and adolescence
Issue number1
Early online date12 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2019

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