Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Serotonin Transporter Gene Polymorphisms and Maternal Overprotection Regulate Adult Social Expectations on Close Relationships

Version 1 : Received: 26 April 2021 / Approved: 26 April 2021 / Online: 26 April 2021 (17:30:58 CEST)

How to cite: Bonassi, A.; Cataldo, I.; Gabrieli, G.; Lepri, B.; Esposito, G. Serotonin Transporter Gene Polymorphisms and Maternal Overprotection Regulate Adult Social Expectations on Close Relationships. Preprints 2021, 2021040685 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202104.0685.v1). Bonassi, A.; Cataldo, I.; Gabrieli, G.; Lepri, B.; Esposito, G. Serotonin Transporter Gene Polymorphisms and Maternal Overprotection Regulate Adult Social Expectations on Close Relationships. Preprints 2021, 2021040685 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202104.0685.v1).

Abstract

Humans are evolutionary-driven to adult mating and conceive social expectations on the quality of their affiliations. The genetic susceptibility to adverse environments in critical periods can alter close relationships. The current research investigates how the promoter region of the Serotonin Transporter Gene (5-HTTLPR) and perceived caregiving behavior in childhood could influence the social expectations on close adult relationships. For this purpose, 5-HTTLPR data was collected from the buccal mucosa of 65 Italian individuals (33 males). The participants filled a) the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI) to provide the levels of care and overprotection from mother and father, and b) the Experience in Close Relationships-Revised (ECR-R) to report the social expectations on the intimate relationship assessed in terms of anxiety and avoidance from the partner. An interaction effect between 5-HTTLPR and PBI dimensions on the ECR-R scores was hypothesized. Results confirmed that the interplay between the genetic groups and history of maternal overprotection predicted avoidance experienced in romantic relationships in adulthood. Moreover, both adult anxiety and avoidance felt in an intimate relationship were found to covary as a function of maternal overprotection. The present work proposes further evidence of the genetic and parental mechanisms regulating social expectations involved in close relationships.

Subject Areas

gene-environment; serotonin transporter gene; 5HTTLPR; attachment; parent-infant interaction; parental bonding; maternal overprotection; close relationship; anxiety; avoidance

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