Child μ-opioid receptor gene variant influences parent-child relations.
Variation in the μ-opioid receptor gene has been associated with early social behavior in mice and rhesus macaques. The current study tested whether the functional OPRM1 A118G predicted various indices of social relations in children. The sample included 226 subjects of self-reported European ancestry (44% female; mean age 13.6, SD=2.2) who were part of a larger representative study of children aged 9-17 years in rural North Carolina. Multiple aspects of recent (past 3 months) parent-child relationship were assessed using the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment. Parent problems were coded based upon a lifetime history of mental health problems, substance abuse, or criminality. Child genotype interacted with parent behavior such that there were no genotype differences for those with low levels of parent problems; however, when a history of parent problems was reported, the G allele carriers had more enjoyment of parent-child interactions (mean ratio (MR)=3.5, 95% CI=1.6, 8.0) and fewer arguments (MR=3.1, 95% CI=1.1, 8.9). These findings suggest a role for the OPRM1 gene in the genetic architecture of social relations in humans. In summary, a variant in the μ-opioid receptor gene (118G) was associated with improved parent-child relations, but only in the context of a significant disruption in parental functioning.
Copeland, WE; Sun, H; Costello, EJ; Angold, A; Heilig, MA; Barr, CS
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