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Violence Against Women. 2014 Apr;20(4):385-400. doi: 10.1177/1077801214528587.

Genetic associations with intimate partner violence in a sample of hazardous drinking men in batterer intervention programs.

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University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA.


The etiology of intimate partner violence (IPV) is multifactorial. However, etiological theories of IPV have rarely included potential genetic factors. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether a cumulative genetic score (CGS) containing the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) and the human serotonin transporter gene linked polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) was associated with IPV perpetration after accounting for the effects of alcohol problems, drug problems, age, and length of relationship. We obtained DNA from 97 men in batterer intervention programs in the state of Rhode Island. In the full sample, the CGS was significantly associated with physical and psychological aggression and injuries caused to one's partner, even after controlling for the effects of alcohol problems, drug problems, age, and length of relationship. Two of the men in the sample likely had Klinefelter's syndrome, and analyses were repeated excluding these two individuals, leading to similar results. The implications of the genetic findings for the etiology and treatment of IPV among men in batterer intervention programs are briefly discussed.


5-HTTPLR; MAOA; batterer intervention; genetics; intimate partner violence

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