Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Journal of Family Violence 33:1 (January 2018), pp. 83–94.

doi: 10.1007/s10896-017-9908-5


Copyright © 2017 Springer Science+Business Media. Used by permission.


Despite evidence that genetic variation contributes to aggression, few studies have examined how genetic variation contributes to IPA specifically. In the current study, 69 couples from a Midwestern university completed self-report measures of IPA, childhood trauma exposure, and hazardous alcohol use, and were randomly assigned to consume either a placebo or alcohol beverage before participating in an analogue aggression task against their partner. Genetic risk (i.e., association with lower transcriptional efficiency) for aggression was measured with a polygenic risk score (PRS) created from four polymorphisms (HTR1B rs13212041, HTR2B rs6437000, 5-HTTLPR, and MAOA uVNTR). Among individuals with a low PRS, individuals who consumed alcohol (BrAC = 0.07%) showed greater unprovoked IPA than individuals who consumed a placebo. Findings contribute to our limited understanding regarding the etiology of IPA and suggest that individuals who have increased transcriptional activity in certain serotonin system genes may be at higher risk of IPA when intoxicated.