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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2011 Oct;52(10):1044-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2011.02424.x. Epub 2011 Jun 15.

The dopamine D2 receptor gene, perceived parental support, and adolescent loneliness: longitudinal evidence for gene-environment interactions.

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1
Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. g.vanroekel@bsi.ru.nl

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Loneliness is a common problem in adolescence. Earlier research focused on genes within the serotonin and oxytocin systems, but no studies have examined the role of dopamine-related genes in loneliness. In the present study, we focused on the dopamine D2 receptor gene (DRD2).

METHODS:

Associations among the DRD2, sex, parental support, and loneliness were examined in a longitudinal study spanning five annual waves (N = 307).

RESULTS:

Using Latent Growth Curve Modeling, DRD2 genotype was not directly related to loneliness. Interactions were found between parental support and DRD2 genotype, showing that adolescents with the A2A2 genotype who perceived little support from their parents had the highest baseline levels of loneliness. Adolescents with an A1 allele were not susceptible to the rewarding effect of parental support.

CONCLUSIONS:

The present study is the first to examine the role of the DRD2 genotype in loneliness. Our results contribute to a further understanding of the environmental and genetic basis of loneliness in adolescence.

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