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Childhood Trauma, the Combination of MAO-A and COMT Genetic Polymorphisms and the Joy of Being Aggressive in Forensic Psychiatric Patients

Department of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Ulm University, 89312 Guenzburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These Authors contributed equally.
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(8), 1008; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11081008
Received: 14 June 2021 / Revised: 26 July 2021 / Accepted: 28 July 2021 / Published: 30 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Behavioral Neuroscience)
Aggression and violent offenses are common amongst forensic psychiatric patients. Notably, research distinguishes two motivationally distinct dimension of aggression–instrumental and reactive aggression. Instrumental aggression comprises of appetitive, goal-directed aggressive acts, whereas reactive aggression consists of affective, defensive violence with both their biological basis remaining largely unknown. Childhood trauma and functional genetic polymorphisms in catecholamines converting enzymes, such as mono-amino-oxidase A (MAO-A) and catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT) have been suggested to augment an aggressive behavioral response in adulthood. However, it warrants clarification if these factors influence one or both types of aggression. Furthermore, it remains elusive, if having a combination of unfavorable enzyme genotypes and childhood maltreatment further increases violent behavior. Hence, we set out to address these questions in the current study. First, analysis revealed an overall marginally increased frequency of the unfavorable MAO-A genotype in the test population. Second, each gene polymorphisms together with a traumatic childhood significantly increased the AFAS (Appetitive and Facilitative Aggression Scale) scores for both reactive and appetitive aggression. Third, having a combination of both disadvantageous genotypes and a negative childhood served as a minor positive predictor for increased reactive aggression, but had a strong influence on the joy of being aggressive. View Full-Text
Keywords: forensic patients; appetitive aggression; reactive aggression; genetic polymorphism; MAO-A; COMT forensic patients; appetitive aggression; reactive aggression; genetic polymorphism; MAO-A; COMT
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MDPI and ACS Style

Fritz, M.; Rösel, F.; Dobler, H.; Streb, J.; Dudeck, M. Childhood Trauma, the Combination of MAO-A and COMT Genetic Polymorphisms and the Joy of Being Aggressive in Forensic Psychiatric Patients. Brain Sci. 2021, 11, 1008. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11081008

AMA Style

Fritz M, Rösel F, Dobler H, Streb J, Dudeck M. Childhood Trauma, the Combination of MAO-A and COMT Genetic Polymorphisms and the Joy of Being Aggressive in Forensic Psychiatric Patients. Brain Sciences. 2021; 11(8):1008. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11081008

Chicago/Turabian Style

Fritz, Michael, Franziska Rösel, Hannah Dobler, Judith Streb, and Manuela Dudeck. 2021. "Childhood Trauma, the Combination of MAO-A and COMT Genetic Polymorphisms and the Joy of Being Aggressive in Forensic Psychiatric Patients" Brain Sciences 11, no. 8: 1008. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11081008

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