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Study finds genetics plays role in aggressive behavior

Many people are interested in why people do the things they do. When the activities someone engages in are criminal, that question can become even more vital. This is particularly true when it is a young person who is accused of doing something illegal.

A recent study reveals some information pertaining to this topic. The study points to the role genetics plays in antisocial behavior in juveniles. It focused on three specific genes—MAOA, BDNF and 5-HTTLPR—simultaneously. The study found that rather causing the behavior, the genes actually react to the environment.

Since the genes react to what is happening in the environment, according to the study, in negative environments the genes will cause the outcome to be worse than average. It is also important to note that when good things happen, the outcomes will be better than average.

These conclusions were reached after taking DNA, via a saliva sample, of 1,1337 students between the ages of 17 and 18. In addition, these high school students completed an anonymous survey regarding the following factors:

  • Sexual abuse.
  • Delinquency.
  • Their relationship with their parents.

This study seems to support the findings of several other studies regarding how mistreatment of children, whether it is emotional, sexual or physical, contributes to those children developing psychiatric issues. These issues could manifest in the form of borderline personality disorder, aggression and the commission of crimes.

It is possible that in the long run, the determination of what causes juvenile crime could help to deter it. In the meantime however, since the consequences surrounding the conviction of a crime as a juvenile can impact their lives so far into the future, it is important for the adults in that young person’s life to do what they can to minimize the damage.

Source: Newsweek.com, "New Study Reveals Antisocial Behaviour is Linked to Genetics," Amelia Smith, Dec. 15, 2014

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