Association between the catechol-O-methyltransferase Val158Met polymorphism and self-perceived social acceptance in adolescent girls

Christian E. Waugh, Karen F. Dearing, Jutta Joormann, Ian H. Gotlib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Low perceived social acceptance is a significant risk factor for emotional difficulties in children. No studies, however, have examined genetic factors that may underlie individual differences in perceived social acceptance. In the present study we examined the relation between polymorphisms on the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met and serotonin transporter promoter (5-HTTLPR) genes and perceived social acceptance in 103 adolescent girls. Only the COMT polymorphism was related to perceived social acceptance: Val-allele carriers reported greater perceived social acceptance than did homozygous Met-allele carriers. In a subsample of these participants, homozygous Val-allele carriers reported greater maintenance of positive emotions during stress. This, in turn, predicted social acceptance, suggesting that COMT exerts its effects on social functioning through emotion regulation. These data are the first to show an association between COMT and social functioning in children. Future research might profitably examine emotion regulation as a mediator between COMT and social acceptance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-401
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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