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Genes Brain Behav. 2008 Feb;7(1):46-52. Epub 2007 May 14.

Serotonin receptor genes 5HT1A and 5HT2A modify the relation between childhood temperament and adulthood hostility.

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Department of Psychology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. liisa.keltikangas-jarvinen@helsinki.fi

Abstract

We examined a modifying role of 5HT1A and 5HT2A receptors in the relation between childhood difficult temperament and adulthood hostility in 729 subjects derived from a population-based sample. Subjects were 3-12 years when their childhood temperaments consisting of hyperactivity, low sociability and negative emotionality (i.e. the difficult temperament), were assessed by their mothers. Their adulthood hostility comprising anger, cynicism and paranoia, was measured twice, 17 and 21 years later. It was found that the 5HT1A and 5HT2A receptors were not related to childhood temperament or to adult hostility, but they modified the association between childhood hyperactivity and adult hostility in men. Male carriers of T/T genotype of 5HTR2A who were rated hyperactive by their mothers expressed a high level of hostility, especially that of cynicism, in adulthood. For men with other genetic variants, such an association was not seen. This finding was consistent across the two follow-ups 4 years apart. Further research is needed to clarify whether mother-related hyperactivity adequately describes the temperament of the child or is a reflection of mother's hostile child-rearing attitudes.

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