Childhood adversity, monoamine oxidase a genotype, and risk for conduct disorder

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2004 Jul;61(7):738-44. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.61.7.738.


Background: Very little is known about how different sets of risk factors interact to influence risk for psychiatric disorder.

Objective: To replicate a recent report of a genotype-environment interaction that predicts risk for antisocial behavior in boys.

Design: Characterizing risk for conduct disorder in boys in association with monoamine oxidase A genotype and exposure to familial adversity, defined by interparental violence, parental neglect, and inconsistent discipline.

Setting: A community-based sample of twin boys.

Participants: Five hundred fourteen male twins aged 8 to 17 years.

Main outcome measure: Conduct disorder.

Results: There was a main effect of adversity but not of monoamine oxidase A on risk for conduct disorder. Low monoamine oxidase A activity increased risk for conduct disorder only in the presence of an adverse childhood environment. Neither a passive nor an evocative genotype-environment correlation accounted for the interaction.

Conclusion: This study replicates a recent report of a genotype-environment interaction that predicts individual variation in risk for antisocial behavior in boys.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnosis
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / epidemiology
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / genetics
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / diagnosis
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology
  • Child of Impaired Parents / statistics & numerical data
  • Conduct Disorder / diagnosis
  • Conduct Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Conduct Disorder / genetics
  • Diseases in Twins / diagnosis
  • Diseases in Twins / epidemiology*
  • Diseases in Twins / genetics
  • Domestic Violence / psychology
  • Domestic Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Monoamine Oxidase / genetics*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Environment
  • Virginia / epidemiology


  • Monoamine Oxidase