Alcohol Intoxication Moderates the Association between a Polygenic Risk Score and Unprovoked Intimate Partner Aggression

Christa C. Christ, Laura E. Watkins, David DiLillo, Scott F. Stoltenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Despite evidence that genetic variation contributes to aggression, few studies have examined how genetic variation contributes to IPA specifically. In the current study, 69 couples from a Midwestern university completed self-report measures of IPA, childhood trauma exposure, and hazardous alcohol use, and were randomly assigned to consume either a placebo or alcohol beverage before participating in an analogue aggression task against their partner. Genetic risk (i.e., association with lower transcriptional efficiency) for aggression was measured with a polygenic risk score (PRS) created from four polymorphisms (HTR1B rs13212041, HTR2B rs6437000, 5-HTTLPR, and MAOA uVNTR). Among individuals with a low PRS, individuals who consumed alcohol (BrAC =0.07%) showed greater unprovoked IPA than individuals who consumed a placebo. Findings contribute to our limited understanding regarding the etiology of IPA and suggest that individuals who have increased transcriptional activity in certain serotonin system genes may be at higher risk of IPA when intoxicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-94
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018



  • 5-HTTLPR
  • HTR1B
  • HTR2B
  • IPA
  • MAOA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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