Loneliness is a common problem in adulthood, with deleterious effects on mental health. In the present study, we examined whether the effects of maternal rearing styles on loneliness are moderated by the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met polymorphism and whether loneliness can further affect mental health as a mediator in 1034 genotyped participants. The results showed that the COMT genotype significantly moderated the relationship between maternal rejection and loneliness; more specifically, Val carriers who perceived higher levels of rejection from their mothers demonstrated higher levels of loneliness. The moderated mediation model revealed that loneliness meditated the indirect effects of maternal rejection on life satisfaction. Specifically, for individuals with the Val/Val genotype, higher rejection from their mothers had a greater influence on their life satisfaction through loneliness. In addition, we found that the effect of COMT Val158Met maternal rejection on loneliness and the effect of maternal rejection on Val/Val adults’ life satisfaction via loneliness existed across different age groups. These findings provide a new understanding of the gene–parenting interaction effect on loneliness and its influence on mental health.
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The de-identified data that support the main findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
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The custom computer code that was used in the main analysis of this study is available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31800916, 32071081), the Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation (Project 2020A1515010975).
All experimental procedures conformed to the Declaration of Helsinki and were approved by the local Research Ethics Committee of the Department of Psychology, Sun Yat-sen University.
Informed consents were obtained from participants prior to the study.
Conflict of Interest
The Gese DNA Research Team are employees of Beijing Gese Technology Co., Ltd. The remaining authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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Wei, W., Lin, Y., Hong, T. et al. Maternal rearing styles and loneliness: The moderating role of the COMT Val158Met polymorphism. Curr Psychol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-01639-1
- Maternal rearing styles
- COMT Val158Met
- Gene-environment interaction
- Life satisfaction