Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) and antisocial behaviors in the presence of childhood and adolescent maltreatment



There is a robust relationship between the experience of maltreatment in childhood and later antisocial behaviors amongst adolescents and adults. Animal and human studies suggest that variation in monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) genotype may moderate the effects of maltreatment. Self-reported conduct problems and criminal convictions amongst sibling-pairs from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were tested for association with reports of maltreatment before and after the age of 12. MAOA promoter polymorphisms were tested for possible moderation effects. Maltreatment predicted conduct problems and criminal convictions. MAOA genotype did not have a significant moderating effect in any of the six analyses that were conducted. We did not replicate a previous report that MAOA polymorphisms moderated the relationship between maltreatment and conduct problems. There was, however, a non-significant trend in the predicted direction. Additional studies will be needed before firm conclusions can be drawn about this hypothesized genotype–environment interaction. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.