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Keywords:

  • adolescents;
  • monoamine oxidase;
  • sex characteristics;
  • criminology;
  • genes;
  • social support;
  • environment

Abstract

Recent findings among boys show that interactions between a polymorphism in the monoamine oxidase A gene promoter region (MAOA-LPR) and psychosocial factors predict criminal activity. The objective of this study was to investigate whether this finding could be extended to adolescent girls. One hundred nineteen female adolescents were recruited among respondents to a cross-sectional study of the total population of 16- and 19-year old girls. These girls constituted a randomly selected sub-sample from groups representing different degrees of risk behavior. The subjects filled in a questionnaire and were interviewed and genotyped with regard to MAOA-LPR. The results indicate that the long, (4-repeat) allele confer an increased risk for criminal behavior in the presence of psychosocial risk. Among girls without social risk, MAOA-LPR genotype was of no importance for criminal behavior. The present results suggest that previous observations on adolescent males, which demonstrate that the short MAOA-LPR genotype and psychosocial adversity interact to predict criminal activity, may not be applicable to females. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.