Mu opioid receptor polymorphism, early social adversity, and social traits

Charles S. Carver, Sheri L. Johnson, Youngmee Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A polymorphism in the mu opioid receptor gene OPRM1 (rs1799971) has been investigated for its role in sensitivity to social contexts. Evidence suggests that the G allele of this polymorphism is associated with higher levels of sensitivity. This study tested for main effects of the polymorphism and its interaction with a self-report measure of childhood adversity as an index of negative environment. Outcomes were several personality measures relevant to social connection. Significant interactions were obtained, such that the negative impact of childhood adversity on personality was greater among G carriers than among A homozygotes on measures of agreeableness, interdependence, anger proneness, hostility, authentic pride, life engagement, and an index of (mostly negative) feelings coloring one’s world view. Findings support the role of OPRM1 in sensitivity to negative environments. Limitations are noted, including the lack of a measure of advantageous social environment to assess sensitivity to positive social contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-524
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2 2016


  • A118G
  • Asn40Asp
  • OPRM1
  • mu opioid receptor gene
  • rs1799971
  • social traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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