MAOA, Drug Selling, and Violent Victimization: Evidence of a Gene × Environment Interaction


Involvement in drug markets is a significant risk factor for criminal victimization. Separately, the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene has been identified as correlating with risky and antisocial behaviors and moderating the effects of environmental risk factors on antisocial behaviors. Using a sample drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 8,860), we explore whether MAOA genotype moderates the effect of drug selling on violent victimization. Results show that drug selling increases violent victimization among males, but not females. Additionally, the effect of drug selling on violent victimization among males is greater among the carriers of the 2R/3R alleles of MAOA, providing evidence of Gene × Environment interaction. These results appear despite a number of controls that potentially make the drug selling–violent victimization relationship spurious. Implications of the findings are discussed.

Publication Title

Criminal Justice Review