Depression in early adolescence: Contributions from relational aggression and variation in the oxytocin receptor gene.
Aggress Behav 2017 Sep 4. Epub 2017 Sep 4.
Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.
Interpersonal stress arising from relational aggression (RA)-the intentional effort to harm others via rejection and exclusion-may increase risk for depression in youth. Biological vulnerabilities related to the hormone oxytocin, which affects social behavior and stress responses, may exacerbate this risk. In a community sample of 307 youth (52% female; age range = 10-14 years), we tested whether (1) the association between RA and subsequent depressive symptoms was mediated through social problems and (2) a single nucleotide polymorphism (rs53576) in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) moderated this indirect association between RA and depression, where GG homozygotes are predicted to be more sensitive to the effects of social problems than A-allele carriers. Read More