Dopamine receptor D4 gene moderates the effect of positive and negative peer experiences on later delinquency: The Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey study

Tina Kretschmer*, Jan Dijkstra, Johan Ormel, Frank Verhulst, René Veenstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The quality of adolescents' relationships with peers can have a lasting impact on later psychosocial adjustment, mental health, and behavior. However, the effect of peer relations on later problem behavior is not uniformly strong, and genetic factors might influence this association. This study used four-wave longitudinal (11-19 years) data (n = 1,151) from the Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey, a Dutch cohort study into adolescent development to test whether the dopamine receptor D4 polymorphism moderates the impact of negative (i.e., victimization) and positive peer experiences (i.e., social well-being) on later delinquency. Contrary to our expectations, results showed that carriers of the dopamine receptor D4 gene 4-repeat homozygous variant instead of those carrying the 7-repeat allele were more susceptible to the effects of both peer victimization and social well-being on delinquency later in adolescence. Findings of our study are discussed in light of other studies into genetic moderation of peer effects on adolescent development and the possibility that developmental specifics in adolescence, such as maturation processes in brain structure and functioning, may affect the interplay of environmental and genetic factors in this period in life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1107-1117
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2013

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