Community matters: GxE interactions predicting childhood aggression and violent behavior

Leslie J. Sattler, Kristie A. Thomas, Michael G. Vaughn, Joanna Almeida, Lori A. White, Marcus R. Waldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Aggression in childhood is a common precursor to youth violence, yet few studies have examined the extent to which genetic and environmental factors interact (GxE) to influence aggression by male and female children.This secondary analysis of data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study examined GxE interactions between two composites of genetic polymorphisms and community-level factors on childhood aggression and violent behavior. Methods: The analytic sample consisted of preadolescent children of single mothers (Year 3, n = 2102; Year 5, n = 2065; Year 9, n = 2007). Analysis included multiple regression and tests of differential susceptibility using simple slopes and regions of significance. Results: Findings indicate that low levels of neighborhood social control and community stability interacted with genotypes to predict childhood aggression and violent behavior at age 9. Moreover, girls who possessed specific dopamine and serotonin polymorphisms were differentially susceptible to the level of neighborhood social control. Conclusions: Findings underscore the need for interventions that work to strengthen communities' social control and residential stability as a way to reduce children's violence and improve their outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-71
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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