Quality of Life Research

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 1189–1200 | Cite as

Biological pathways and genetic mechanisms involved in social functioning

  • Juan R. OrdoñanaEmail author
  • Meike Bartels
  • Dorret I. Boomsma
  • David Cella
  • Miriam Mosing
  • Joao R. Oliveira
  • Donald L. Patrick
  • Ruut Veenhoven
  • Gert G. Wagner
  • Mirjam A.G. Sprangers
  • The GENEQOL Consortium




A search of Web of Science and PubMed databases was conducted using combinations of the following keywords: genetics, twins, heritability, social functioning, social adjustment, social interaction, and social dysfunction.


Variability in the definitions and measures of social functioning was extensive. Moderate to high heritability was reported for social functioning and related concepts, including prosocial behavior, loneliness, and extraversion. Disorders characterized by impairments in social functioning also show substantial heritability. Genetic variants hypothesized to be involved in social functioning are related to the network of brain structures and processes that are known to affect social cognition and behavior.


Better knowledge and understanding about the impact of genetic factors on social functioning is needed to help us to attain a more comprehensive view of health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) and will ultimately enhance our ability to identify those patients who are vulnerable to poor social functioning.


Quality of life Social functioning Patient-reported outcomes Genetic variants Genetic underpinning 



We are grateful to all members of the GENEQOL Consortium for their invaluable contribution to the consortium activities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan R. Ordoñana
    • 1
    Email author
  • Meike Bartels
    • 2
  • Dorret I. Boomsma
    • 2
  • David Cella
    • 3
  • Miriam Mosing
    • 4
  • Joao R. Oliveira
    • 5
  • Donald L. Patrick
    • 6
  • Ruut Veenhoven
    • 7
  • Gert G. Wagner
    • 8
  • Mirjam A.G. Sprangers
    • 9
  • The GENEQOL Consortium
  1. 1.Department of Human Anatomy and PsychobiologyUniversity of Murcia, and Murcia Institute for Biomedical Research (IMIB)MurciaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Biological PsychologyVU UniversityAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Medical Social SciencesFeinberg School of MedicineChicago, ILUS
  4. 4.Queensland Institute of Medical ResearchBrisbaneAustralia
  5. 5.Department of NeuropsychiatryFederal University of PernambucoRecife-PernambucoBrazil
  6. 6.Department of Health ServicesUniversity of WashingtonSeattle, WAUSA
  7. 7.Faculty of Social SciencesErasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands
  8. 8.Max Planck Institute for Human DevelopmentBerlin University of Technology, and German Institute for Economic ResearchBerlinGermany
  9. 9.Department of Medical Psychology, Academic Medical CenterUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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