Aims: Aggressive and criminal traits have a complex genetic background which interacts with environmental factors. Alcohol intoxication has been related to lower thresholds of aggressive behaviors. In this association study of two independent samples, a number of candidate gene variants (5HT2A T102C, 5-HTTLPR, DRD Ins-141Del, DAT1 VNTR) were related to violent criminal behavior and alcohol-related aggressive traits.
Method: Treatment-seeking alcohol-dependent individuals (293 patients and 499 controls from Germany, 180 patients and 402 controls from Poland) underwent a Semi-Structured Assessment for the Genetics of Alcoholism interview which gathered information on alcohol-related violence and criminal behaviors, beside alcohol dependence characteristics.
Results: Patients with a history of violent or non-violent crime were more often male, had an earlier onset of alcoholism, more withdrawal seizures and delirium tremens, and were more likely to have a history of suicide attempts. No significant association between candidate gene variants and criminal behavior was detected. 5HTTLPR variant was related to one characteristic of alcohol-related violence.
Conclusions: With findings from genome-wide association studies linking aggression-related traits to second messenger systems, further studies are needed to determine the genetic underpinnings of non-alcohol and alcohol-related aggression.
© The Author 2015. Medical Council on Alcohol and Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.