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Genetic Sensitivity to Peer Behaviors: 5HTTLPR, Smoking and Alcohol Consumption

Genetic Sensitivity to Peer Behaviors: 5HTTLPR, Smoking and Alcohol Consumption. Daw J, Shanahan M, Harris KM, Smolen A, Haberstick B, Boardman JD. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 2013;54(1):92-108.


Authors:
Jonathan Daw, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
Michael Shanahan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
Kathleen Mullan Harris, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
Andrew Smolen, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
Brett Haberstick, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
Jason D. Boardman, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA

Published in:

Journal of Health and Social Behavior, vol. 54 no. 1 (March 2013), p. 92-108

Abstract:

We investigate whether the serotonin transporter–linked polymorphic region (5HTTLPR), a gene associated with environmental sensitivity, moderates the association between smoking and drinking patterns at adolescents’ schools and their corresponding risk for smoking and drinking themselves. Drawing on the school-based design of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in conjunction with molecular genetic data for roughly 15,000 respondents (including over 2,000 sibling pairs), we show that adolescents smoke more cigarettes and consume more alcohol when attending schools with elevated rates of tobacco and alcohol use. More important, an individual’s susceptibility to school-level patterns of smoking or drinking is conditional on the number of short alleles he or she has in 5HTTLPR. Overall, the findings demonstrate the utility of the differential susceptibility framework for medical sociology by suggesting that health behaviors reflect interactions between genetic factors and the prevalence of these behaviors in a person’s context.

View or download complete article at SAGE journals.