5-HTTLPR, Suicidal Behavior by Others, Depression, and Criminal Behavior During Adolescence


Vicarious strains like suicidal behavior on the part of others have been shown to be predictive of both negative emotions and antisocial behavior during adolescence. Little research to date, however, has examined the role that biological factors play in moderating these relationships. Using a sample of adolescents drawn from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (N = 7,995), and drawing on two separate, but related, theories, I explore whether the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) interacts with suicidal behavior by others to affect depression and self-reported crime. Results of ordinary least squares and negative binomial regressions reveal that suicide by others interacts with 5-HTTLPR to increase both depression and crime for males but not females, net of controls. Thus, 5-HTTLPR may be implicated in shaping negative emotions and antisocial behavior among males during adolescence by moderating the effects of suicide by others. Implications for theory are discussed.

Publication Title

Journal of Adolescent Research