Interactions of adolescent social experiences and dopamine genes to predict physical intimate partner violence perpetration


Schwab-Reese, Laura M.; Parker, Edith A.; & Peek-Asa, Corinne (2017). Interactions of adolescent social experiences and dopamine genes to predict physical intimate partner violence perpetration. PLOS ONE. vol. 12 (3) pp. e0172840


Objectives: We examined the interactions between three dopamine gene alleles (DAT1, DRD2, DRD4) previously associated with violent behavior and two components of the adolescent environment (exposure to violence, school social environment) to predict adulthood physical intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration among white men and women. Methods: We used data from Wave IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, a cohort study following individuals from adolescence to adulthood. Based on the prior literature, we categorized participants as at risk for each of the three dopamine genes using this coding scheme: two 10-R alleles for DAT1; at least one A-1 allele for DRD2; at least one 7-R or 8-R allele for DRD4. Adolescent exposure to violence and school social environment was measured in 1994 and 1995 when participants were in high school or middle school. Intimate partner violence perpetration was measured in 2008 when participants were 24 to 32 years old. We used simple and multivariable logistic regression models, including interactions of genes and the adolescent environments for the analysis. Results: Presence of risk alleles was not independently associated with IPV perpetration but increasing exposure to violence and disconnection from the school social environment was associated with physical IPV perpetration. The effects of these adolescent experiences on physical IPV perpetration varied by dopamine risk allele status. Among individuals with non-risk dopamine alleles, increased exposure to violence during adolescence and perception of disconnection from the school environment were significantly associated with increased odds of physical IPV perpetration, but individuals with high risk alleles, overall, did not experience the same increase. Conclusion: Our results suggested the effects of adolescent environment on adulthood physical IPV perpetration varied by genetic factors. This analysis did not find a direct link between risk alleles and violence, but contributes to growing research indicating that if genetic factors contribute to perpetration, this relationship is likely complicated and the result of interactions with other factors.




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Journal Article

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Schwab-Reese, Laura M.
Parker, Edith A.
Peek-Asa, Corinne

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March 6, 2017



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