Effect of family structure and TPH2 G-703T on the stability of dysregulation profile throughout adolescence

Maria Nobile, Valentina Bianchi, Dario Monzani, Silvana Beri, Monica Bellina, Andrea Greco, Paola Colombo, Alessandra Tesei, Daniela Caldirola, Roberto Giorda, Giampaolo Perna, Massimo Molteni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Two different polymorphisms (TPH2 G-703T and 5-HTTLPR) involved in the serotonergic pathway have been reported to play a role, both alone and in interaction with the environment, in early and adult emotion regulation. As most of these studies are cross-sectional, we know little about the impact of these polymorphisms over time, particularly during adolescence. Methods Because we were interested in the effects of these polymorphisms and environment (i.e., family structure) at different time-points on the emotional dysregulation profile, we performed a path analysis model in a general adolescent population sample of a five-year follow-up study. Results We found a high stability of Dysregulation Profile problems independently from the examined allelic variants. We also found that early family structure directly influences the levels of dysregulation problems in early adolescence, both alone and in interaction with TPH2, suggesting the presence of a gene-environment interaction effect. Furthermore, we found that in adolescents homozygous for the TPH2 G allele, the effect of the early family structure remains active during late adolescence, albeit mediated by earlier emotional problems. Limitations The high attrition rate, the use of only one source on behavioral problems of adolescents, and the focus on a single polymorphism in the investigated genes could limit the generalizability of the present results. Conclusions These results suggest that early family structure could play a significant role in the development and maintenance of emotional and behavioral problems not only in early adolescence but also in late-adolescence, although this effect was mediated and moderated by behavioral and genetic variables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-584
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2016


  • 5-HTTLPR
  • Adolescence
  • Dysregulation profile
  • Emotional dysregulation
  • Family structure
  • TPH2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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