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27-04-2018 | Empirical Research Open Access

Associations between Oxytocin Receptor (OXTR) Genotype and Elementary School Children’s Likability, Dis-likability and Friendship among Classroom Peers: A Longitudinal Study

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence
Auteurs:
Jin He, J. Marieke Buil, Hans M. Koot, Pol A. C. van Lier

Abstract

The single nucleotide polymorphism rs53576 of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene is involved in forming and maintaining relationships in various social contexts. However, this has not been studied in the childhood peer context. The present study followed 359 children (51.6% girls) from age 9 to 12 to explore associations between OXTR rs53576 genotype (i.e., AA, AG or GG genotype) and three indicators of children’s relationships with peers: likability and dis-likability among, and friendship with, classroom peers. Our results showed that OXTR rs53576 was associated with likability among boys, but not with dis-likability and friendship or among girls. Boys with an A and a G allele (i.e., AG genotype) became increasingly more liked by their peers across the four-year studied period than those with two A alleles or two G alleles (i.e., AA and GG genotype). This study indicates that OXTR rs53576 genotype might influence children’s peer relationships, particularly their likeability among peers. Associations between OXTR rs53576 and peer relationships may differ depending on children’s sex and the specific type of peer-relationship under scrutiny.

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