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Gene-Environment Correlation Between the Dopamine Transporter Gene (DAT1) Polymorphism and Childhood Experiences of Abuse

Journal article
Authors W. Rehan
J. Antfolk
Ada Johansson
M. Aminoff
N. K. Sandnabba
Lars Westberg
P. Santtila
Published in Journal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume 33
Issue 13
Pages 2059-2072
ISSN 0886-2605
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Pharmacology
Pages 2059-2072
Language en
Keywords gene-environment correlation, rGE, dopamine transporter gene, DAT1, childhood experiences, antisocial-behavior, physical maltreatment, corporal punishment, violent, delinquency, adolescents, genotype, origins, samples, adhd, twin, Criminology & Penology, Family Studies, Psychology
Subject categories Criminology, Family research, Psychology


In the present study, we investigated the possible gene-environment correlation between the dopamine transporter gene (DAT1) polymorphism and childhood experiences of abuse and neglect. Genetic information was obtained from 1,442 male and 2,178 female twins and their siblings drawn from a Finnish population-based sample. The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire was used to measure the childhood experiences of abuse and neglect. In men, the DAT1 polymorphism was associated with having experienced sexual abuse in childhood, such that men with the 9R9R genotype reported less sexual abuse experiences than men with the 9R10R or the 10R10R genotypes. In women, there was an association between the DAT1 polymorphism and childhood experiences of emotional abuse, such that women with the 9R9R genotype reported less emotional abuse experiences than women with the 9R10R or 10R10R genotypes. No other associations between the DAT1 polymorphism and childhood experiences of abuse and neglect were found. In sum, the results suggested that some genetic components might predispose children to experience childhood abuse and neglect. Possible reasons for this association were discussed.

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