Exploring the association between the 2-repeat allele of the MAOA gene promoter polymorphism and psychopathic personality traits, arrests, incarceration, and lifetime antisocial behavior

Kevin M. Beaver, John Paul Wright, Brian B. Boutwell, J. C. Barnes, Matt DeLisi, Michael G. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A line of research has revealed that a polymorphism in the promoter region of the MAOA gene is related to antisocial phenotypes. Most of these studies examine the effects of low MAOA activity alleles (2-repeat and 3-repeat alleles) against the effects of high MAOA activity alleles (3.5-repeat, 4-repeat, and sometimes 5-repeat alleles), with research indicating that the low MAOA activity alleles confer an increased risk to antisocial phenotypes. The current study examined whether the 2-repeat allele, which has been shown to be functionally different from the 3-repeat allele, was associated with a range of antisocial phenotypes in a sample of males drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Analyses revealed that African-American males who carried the 2-repeat allele were, in comparison with other African-American male genotypes, significantly more likely to be arrested and incarcerated. Additional analyses revealed that African-American male carriers of the 2-repeat allele scored significantly higher on an antisocial phenotype index and on measures assessing involvement in violent behaviors over the life course. There was not any association between the 2-repeat allele and a continuously measured psychopathic personality traits scale. The effects of the 2-repeat allele could not be examined in Caucasian males because only 0.1% carried it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-168
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume54
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)

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