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Mitigating aggressiveness through education?: The monoamine oxidase A genotype and mental health in general population
Department of Psychology, Estonian Centre of Behavioural and Health Sciences, University of Tartu, Tiigi 78, Tartu 50410, Estonia .
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2014 (English)In: Acta Neuropsychiatrica, ISSN 0924-2708, E-ISSN 1601-5215, Vol. 26, no 1, 19-28 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

OBJECTIVE: Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene promoter region includes a variable number of tandem repeat (VNTR) associated with antisocial behaviour in adverse environment. We have examined the effect of the MAOA-uVNTR on mental health and academic success by using a population representative sample and a longitudinal design.

METHODS: The data of the older cohort (n = 593, aged 15 years at the original sampling) of the longitudinal Estonian Children Personality, Behaviour and Health Study (ECPBHS) were used. Follow-ups were conducted at ages 18 and 25 years. Aggressiveness, inattention and hyperactivity were reported by class teachers or, at older age, self-reported. Stressful life events, psychological environment in the family and interactions between family members were self-reported. Data of general mental abilities and education were obtained at the age of 25, and lifetime psychiatric disorder assessment was carried out with the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) interview.

RESULTS: MAOA-uVNTR genotype had no independent effect on aggressiveness, hyperactive and inattentive symptoms, and neither was there a genotype interaction with adverse life events. Interestingly, the proportion of male subjects with higher education by the age of 25 was significantly larger among those with MAOA low-activity alleles (χ² = 7.13; p = 0.008). Logistic regression revealed that MAOA low-activity alleles, higher mental abilities, occurrence of anxiety disorders and absence of substance-use disorder were significant independent predictors for higher education in male subjects.

CONCLUSIONS: In a population representative sample of young subjects, the MAOA-uVNTR 'risk genotype' predicted better life outcomes as expressed in higher level of education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 26, no 1, 19-28 p.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-235755DOI: 10.1017/neu.2013.34PubMedID: 25142096OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-235755DiVA: diva2:761807
Available from: 2014-11-08 Created: 2014-11-08 Last updated: 2014-11-12Bibliographically approved

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Comasco, ErikaOreland, Lars
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