Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 89, Issue 4, pp 841–853 | Cite as

The relationship between the MAOA-uVNTR polymorphism, delinquent peer affiliation, and antisocial behavior with a consideration of sex differences

  • Eric M. CookeEmail author
  • Todd Armstrong
  • Danielle Boisvert
  • Jessica Wells
  • Richard H. Lewis
  • Sheree Hughes-Stamm
  • David Gangitano
Original Paper


With the advent of new and more readily usable gene sequencing techniques, researchers have been able to examine the interactions between genes and the environment (G X E) within a multitude of scientific perspectives. One area that G X E interactions have been implicated in is the development of antisocial behavior (ASB). Antisocial behavior consists of a wide range of maladaptive behaviors and has been at the forefront of public health and mental health concerns for decades. One genetic polymorphism that has been associated with ASB is MAOA-uVNTR. Meta-analytic studies have found the low-activity MAOA-uVNTR polymorphism to be associated with ASB from early childhood through adulthood. Recently, studies have begun to examine the independent and interactive G X E relationship between MAOA-uVNTR and deviant peer affiliation on ASB. Inconsistent with the broader literature, these findings suggest an interaction between high-activity MAOA-uVNTR and deviant peer affiliation on ASB in a mixed sex sample. The current study re-examines the relationship between MAOA-uVNTR, peer delinquency, and ASB with a consideration of sex differences in 291 college participants. Findings indicate an interaction between the low-activity allele of the MAOA-uVNTR and peer delinquency in predicting ASB. Results are also specific to differences between the sexes. Implications and future research are discussed.


G X E MAOA Peer delinquency Antisocial behavior Sex differences 



This study was supported by an Enhancement Grant for Professional Development from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at Sam Houston State University. Study Sponsors were not involved in the development of study methodology or in any aspect of study implementation, data analysis, or report writing.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution and/or national committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This study obtained informed consent from all participants.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric M. Cooke
    • 1
    Email author
  • Todd Armstrong
    • 2
  • Danielle Boisvert
    • 1
  • Jessica Wells
    • 3
  • Richard H. Lewis
    • 1
  • Sheree Hughes-Stamm
    • 4
  • David Gangitano
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Criminal Justice and CriminologySam Houston State UniversityHuntsvilleUSA
  2. 2.School of Criminology and Criminal JusticeUniversity of Nebraska OmahaOmahaUSA
  3. 3.School of Public ServiceBoise State UniversityBoiseUSA
  4. 4.Department of Forensic ScienceSam Houston State UniversityHuntsvilleUSA

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