Genotype Environment Interaction: An Examination of the Caspi Hypothesis for the Etiology of Antisocial Behavior in a Nationally Representative Sampe of the U.S.

John D. Hewitt, University of Colorado at Boulder
Robin Corley, University of Colorado at Boulder
David Huizinga, University of Colorado at Boulder
Scott Menard, University of Colorado at Boulder
Andrew Smolen, University of Colorado at Boulder
Michael C. Stallings, University of Colorado at Boulder
Susan E. Young, University of Colorado at Boulder

Childhood victimizatyion is associated with the risk for antisocial behavior in adolescence and adulthood. It has also been reported that some genetic polymorphisms are associated with aggressive behavior in both animal models and human families. Recently, it has been proposed that a genotype X environment interaction may occur such that some genetic influences on antisocial behavior may be especially important when paired with adverse environments. In this paper, we will examine the specific hypothesis that a polymorphism in an X-linked monomine oxidase gene (MAOA) is associated with antisocial behavior in individuals subjected to the stress of victimization, including maltreatment, in childhood. The hypothesis was suggested by Caspi et al (2002) who provided empirical support for it in a population-based longitudinal study of boys in Dunedin, New Zealand. Using the National Youth Survey sample, we will provide the first partial replication test of the hypothesis in a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population.

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Updated 05/20/2006