- Interaction effect of oxytocin receptor ( OXTR ) rs53576 genotype and maternal postpartum depression on child behavioural problems
- Child behavioural problems
- SNPwatch: We Care a Lot – 23andMe Blog
- Oxytocin Genes (OXTR) & SNPs: Are You High or Low in it?
- What Are Your Genes for Oxytocin?
- The Most Significant Oxytocin SNP: rs53576
- The Benefits of ‘G’ at rs53576
- The Negatives of ‘G’ rs53576
- Further Reading
- Associations between Oxytocin Receptor Gene Polymorphisms, Empathy towards Animals and Implicit Associations towards Animals
- Simple Summary
- Share and Cite
- Article Metrics
- Genes may contribute to marital satisfaction
Interaction effect of oxytocin receptor ( OXTR ) rs53576 genotype and maternal postpartum depression on child behavioural problems
Previous studies have reported interaction effects of oxytocin receptor genotype (rs53576) and environmental factors on mental health in youth. However, the findings are mixed, especially regarding the type of allele (i.e., A vs.
G), and it remains unanswered whether such an interaction presents at an early stage of development.
Thus, using a unique longitudinal birth cohort sample in Japan (n = 568), we examined whether there was an effect of the interaction between the OXTR rs53576 genotype and maternal postpartum depression, as an environmental risk, on behavioural problems in children.
Child behavioural problems (internalising and externalising problems) were ascertained using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire when children were 6 years old. Maternal postpartum depression was measured using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale when children were at 2 months and 10 months of age.
The results revealed a significant effect in the interaction between OXTR rs53576 genotype and maternal postpartum depression on externalising problems in children with AA genotype (β = 0.136, 95% CI 0.032 to 0.240), but not in those with GG/GA genotype. This indicates that an interaction of vulnerable genotypes (i.
e., A allele of OXTR rs53576) with an environmental burden (i.e. maternal postpartum depression) may be one of the potential elements that predisposes the infant to developing behavioural problems early in life. Hence, special attention needs to be paid to children exposed to environmental risks such as maternal postpartum depression, to facilitate the provision of appropriate care.
Oxytocin is a peptide hormone that is involved in a wide range of human behaviours, and its role is well known in maternal behaviours such as parturition and lactation1,2.
Recent studies have shown that oxytocin also plays an important role in social behaviours such as trust, empathy, prosocial behaviours, attachment, and social anxiety (reviewed in3,4).
In addition, intranasal administration of oxytocin is postulated to be a potential treatment for mental disorders such as autism, social anxiety, schizophrenia, and borderline personality disorder (reviewed in5).
Another line of investigation has shown that variation in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene is associated with individual differences in social behaviours. The human OXTR gene is located on chromosome 3p25, spans 17 kb and contains four exons and three introns6.
A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) within intron 3 of the OXTR gene, rs53576, is a widely investigated SNP due to its association with individual differences in social behaviours7,8,9. Furthermore, it has been reported that OXTR rs53576 is related to variability of phenotypes in mental health (reviewed in10).
In effect, the A allele of OXTR rs53576 has been reported to be linked to a high level of depressive symptoms11, suicide attempts12, and a low level of positive affect13.
Genetic factors are known to influence mental health through interacting environmental factors such as maternal depression and child maltreatment (reviewed in14,15). This gene × environmental interaction effect has been rooted in several psychological models such as the diathesis-stress and differential susceptibility models.
In the diathesis-stress model, it is hypothesized that genetic vulnerabilities lead to mental disorders through an interaction with a stressful environment16.
On the other hand, the susceptibility model posits that some genetic variation is associated with not only a stressful environment, but also a supportive environment17, extending the diathesis-stress model. This gene × environment interaction effect on mental health has also been reported for the OXTR rs53576 genotype.
In a study by Thompson et al.18, for example, the A allele, but not the G allele, was demonstrated to be related to depressive symptoms in adolescents whose mother was afflicted with depression, which was, in fact, viewed as an environmental risk factor in the study.
These studies suggest that oxytocin genotype, especially inheritance of the A allele, may play a role in susceptibility to disturbed mental health by interacting with adverse environments. However, findings are mixed.
The G allele, by contrast, has been reported to be involved in the association between childhood maltreatment and subsequent mental health problems such as depression19, internalising problems20, and conduct problems21. Thus, inconsistent findings of the interaction effect of OXTR rs53576 genotype × environment on mental health in warrant further investigation.
As mentioned above, previous studies of OXTR rs53576 in relation to mental health, especially OXTR rs53576 genotype × environment interaction effects, have focused mainly on adolescents18,21,22 and young adults19,23. Given that child well-being is linked to adolescent and adult mental health (e.g.
24,25) and early intervention in children with mental health problems has been advocated to promote optimal outcomes26,27, it would be of considerable value to explore this issue in populations of children. To our knowledge, only two studies have examined OXTR rs53576 genotype and environment interaction effects on mental health in children28,29.
The previous studies did not demonstrate any significant interplaying effects. However, one study28 investigated the effect of interaction between environmental adversity (child maltreatment) and OXTR rs53576 genotype on coping functioning (strength)—that is, resilience in children in low-income families, especially in ethnic minority populations (African Americans).
The other study29 considered the prenatal period as the risk period for environmental exposure; in that prenatal maternal stress, as opposed to childhood adverse experiences, was explored as an environmental risk potentially interacting with genotype. In addition, the latter study also focused on a rather specific phenotype, i.e., autistic traits, as a consequence of the influence.
Although these negative results do not prompt further exploration, findings remain inconclusive since such conceptually narrow populations were investigated28 and the risk period for exposure and outcome phenotype were too specific29. The present study focused on maternal postpartum depression, since it has a negative impact on child mental health (e.g.
30,31) and as many as 10% of mothers suffer from this condition32. This suggests that a large number of newborn babies are exposed to environmental risks during the first year of life, which is the most vulnerable developmental stage30,33.
As a measure of mental health, we assessed internalising and externalising problems since these disturbances are strongly related with the interaction effect of OXTR rs53576 genotype × environment21,22 and have been reported to be predictors of mental health problems in adults, such as depression and anxiety disorders24,25.
Furthermore, we utilized data from a longitudinal birth cohort of mother-child dyads.
Prior studies have shown that the OXTR rs53576 A allele-specific genotype is associated with susceptibility to a disturbed mental state; thus, we hypothesized that the association, if any, between maternal postpartum depression and child behavioural problems, as represented by internalising problems and/or externalising problems, would be found in the A allele, but not the G allele, of OXTR rs53576. Herein, an attempt was made to investigate the interaction effect of OXTR rs53576 genotype × maternal depression on child behavioural problems, using a representative sample of the general population in Japan.
Genotyping of OXTR rs53576 revealed that 77 children had the GG genotype (13.6%), 257 children the GA genotype (45.3%), and 234 children had the AA genotype (41.2%) (Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium: χ2 = 0.232, p = 0.630).
This genotypic frequency in the participants was consistent with those of previous studies which have reported that the frequency of the AA genotype of OXTR rs53576 is relatively high for populations in East Asia7,22,34.
Given that patients with the GG and GA genotypes share common psychological characteristics13,19 as mentioned above, we amalgamated subjects with GG and GA genotypes into one group, as has been done in previous studies13,19,22,34.
Child behavioural problems
Table 1 and Fig. 1 present the results of SEM analysis. In the crude model, there was a significant interaction effect of OXTR × maternal postpartum depression on externalising problems (β = −0.210, 95% CI −0.359 to −0.062).
Such an interaction of OXTR × maternal postpartum depression remained significant when several covariates were adjusted for: β = −0.185, 95% CI −0.330 to −0.040 for the adjusted final model.
To examine the interaction effect, we calculated the difference in the coefficients among the four groups; that is, reparameterization was made for the adjusted final model (see Table 2).
The association between maternal postpartum depression and externalising problems in offspring was evident in children with the AA genotype (β = 0.136, 95% CI 0.032 to 0.240), but not in those with GG/GA genotypes (Fig. 2).
As for internalising problems, there was no interaction effect of OXTR × maternal postpartum depression in either the crude or adjusted model. Then, we examined any sex differences in the interaction effect by applying multiple group analysis in the framework of SEM. We found no significant difference in the interaction effect of OXTR × maternal postpartum depression on externalising problems: β = −2.301, 95% CI −6.841 to 2.239, p > 0.05.
Table 1 Structural equation model for the interacting effect of oxytocin receptor (OXTR) rs53576 genotype × maternal postpartum depression on child behavioural problems.Figure 1
Structural equation model for the interaction effect of oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) rs53576 genotype × maternal postpartum depression on child behavioural problems. Solid lines indicate statistically significant paths (i.e.
, 95% confidence interval does not cross zero), while dashed line indicate non-significant paths.
Covariates (child gender, gestational age, birth weight, maternal education, house income, and history of maternal affective disorder) were adjusted for in this model.
Table 2 Difference of the score of child behavioural problems in each group compared with baseline group (AA genotype offspring with non-depressed mother) in relation to oxytocin receptor (OXTR) rs53576 genotype (AA vs. GG/GA) and maternal postpartum depression. Covariates (child gender, gestational age, birth weight, maternal education, house income, and history of maternal affective disorder) were adjusted for.Figure 2
Interaction effect of oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) rs53576 genotype × maternal postpartum depression on externalising problems. Scores are standardized values derived from the structural equation model.
Covariates (child gender, gestational age, birth weight, maternal education, house income, and history of maternal affective disorder) were adjusted for. Error bars indicate 95% confidence interval (CI).
*The 95% CI does not cross the estimated score for the baseline group (AA genotype offspring with non-depressed mother), which is equivalent to p
SNPwatch: We Care a Lot – 23andMe Blog
By Bethann Hromatka, Ph.D.
Oxytocin is Greek for “swift birth,” but this hormone – which helps induce labor and promote lactation – has garnered many other names in the media, from the “cuddle chemical” to the “morality molecule.”
The “pro-social” effects of oxytocin on humans has become the subject of innumerable studies of varied reliability that have investigated impacts on trust, generosity, and empathy.
But it’s clear that this hormone, which is released into the bloodstream by the pituitary gland, impacts social bonding.
As oxytocin flows through the blood, it communicates with cells by specifically interacting with the oxytocin receptor – a protein on the surface of cells that catches this hormone as it passes by.
Numerous studies link , a SNP in the oxytocin receptor gene called OXTR, to emotional and social processes.Studies have suggested that people with certain genetic variants in OXTR are more sensitive to stress and have reduced social skills compared to others.
A recent study published by Shimon Saphire-Bernstein at UCLA provided evidence that people who carry the A version of are less optimistic and have lower self-esteem. In addition, brain scans have suggested that those with these genetic variants are less responsive to social cues than others as well.
Although not proven, there is also some evidence that people who carry the A version of are at increased risk for autism, a disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication. Oxytocin is currently being used experimentally to treat children with autism (read more about this here and here).
A new study conducted by Aleksander Kogan at the University of Toronto suggests that people one of these variants are readily perceived by others as being less prosocial than others.
A prosocial behavior is any voluntary behavior intended to benefit another person, for instance showing empathy. Kogan and colleagues recruited “observers” to view “subjects” listening to their romantic partners talk about going through a tough time. After only 20 seconds of watching, observers determined how pro-social the subject was.
People with these variants individuals were judged to be less pro-social and displayed fewer nonverbal cues – head nods and smiles – compared to others.
The study suggested that the association between and prosociality was stronger for men, but also true for women.
Even though these findings resonate with numerous studies linking to prosocial behavior and empathy, they should be considered as preliminary since the study was carried out with a limited number of participants – 23 to be exact and all of European ethnicity.
Some geneticists have suggested that this sample size is simply too small to provide meaningful information, but it can also be argued that a very large sample wasn’t necessary because only a single, well-studied SNP was investigated.Says Kogan,
“Our study benefits from over a dozen studies that have reported findings very consistent with ours using much larger samples from the same general population – Caucasians in the United States.” He also adds, “We are now attempting much larger replication studies.”
SNPwatch gives you the latest news about research linking various traits and conditions to individual genetic variations.
These studies are exciting because they offer a glimpse into how genetics may affect our bodies and health; but in most cases, more work is needed before this research can provide information of value to individuals.
For that reason it is important to remember that all information we provide, the studies we describe in SNPwatch are for research and educational purposes only.
SNPwatch is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice; you should always seek the advice of your physician or other appropriate healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding diagnosis, cure, treatment or prevention of any disease or other medical condition.
Oxytocin Genes (OXTR) & SNPs: Are You High or Low in it?
Oxytocin, often called the “love hormone,” plays a significant role in social bonding and empathy. The OXTR gene, which codes for its receptor, seems to affect how each individual processes and reacts to oxytocin. What does your DNA have to say, and which SNPs have the greatest impact? Learn more here.
What Are Your Genes for Oxytocin?
The oxytocin receptor gene OXTR determines sensitivity to oxytocin, commonly known as the “love hormone” for its role in social bonding [1, 2].
OXTR is recognized as an important gene for relationships and empathy, and it has attracted a great deal of attention in the research community for this reason. Many single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, the fancy scientific term for simple variations within a gene) have been associated with differences in personality, social skills, attachment styles, and even brain development [2, 3].
The Most Significant Oxytocin SNP: rs53576
About 37% of the global population has the ‘GG’ genotype (two copies of the ‘G’ allele) at rs53576. This genotype is associated with increased optimism, empathy, and ease of handling stress .
The ‘GG’ genotype is associated with increased activity in the oxytocin system and enhanced effects of oxytocin supplementation .
The gene frequency varies by ethnicity: 61% of Africans have the ‘G’ allele, compared to 41% of Europeans (30% of Finns) and 10% of Asians .
The Benefits of ‘G’ at rs53576
In multiple studies, researchers have found that people with the ‘G’ allele were more ly to display positive social behaviors and to respond to the emotions of others. The following is a list of findings from some of the associative studies on rs53576:
- GG has a more positive ‘affect’ or disposition . AA and AG individuals were found to be less prosocial and displayed fewer nonverbal cues – head nods and smiles – compared to GG people. The authors reported that the association between and prosociality was stronger for men, but also significant for women.
- People with the GG genotype were more optimistic, empathetic, and able to handle stress.
- People with GG were better at accurately reading the emotions of others by observing their faces compared to AA or AG.
- People with GG were less ly to startle when blasted by a loud noise or to become stressed at the prospect of such a noise.
- People with GG were mellower and more attuned to other people than the AA or AG were.
- People with GG had higher non-verbal IQ .
- People with GG were reported to feel less lonely.
- People with GG were less ly to seek support from their peers.
- People with GG employed more sensitive parenting techniques.
- People with GG had lower rates of autism.
- People with GG had less difficulty hearing and understanding in noisy environments.
- In response to an interview, people with GG or AG had significantly lower cortisol responses to stress when they had social support. There were no differences in cortisol levels in subjects with the AA genotype receiving or not receiving social support. People with the AA genotype tended to have higher levels of cortisol throughout the session than G carriers (no differences between the genotypes were observed at baseline).
- People with GG had more gray matter volume in the hypothalamus and greater hypothalamus volume and more activation in the amygdala.
- People with GG were less predisposed to major depression .
The Negatives of ‘G’ rs53576
GG may affect how a person experiences social rejection. People with GG had significantly higher blood pressure and cortisol levels following rejection, effects not apparent among A carriers .
People with GG were less empathetic to pain experienced by racial ‘out-group’ vs racial ‘in-group’ members (Asians vs Europeans). However, AA experienced more pleasure from pain to racial out-groups. The authors suggested that these results could shed light on how and why people develop racial and social bias .
People with the G allele at rs1042778 had higher oxytocin levels than T carriers (T=.37) .
GG or GT was associated more strongly with prosocial behaviors than the TT genotype. In a game that tested how generous people are (using the Israeli currency of shekels), people with TT gave on average 18.3 shekels to the ‘other’, while GG or GT gave on average 25 shekels to the other  About 14% of the global population has the TT genotype.
In romantic relationships, the TT genotype was associated with less empathic concern for their partner’s distress, lower social reciprocity in a support-giving interaction, and less persistence in attending to their partner’s communication and maintaining focus on providing support .
G is social allele at rs237887 , but as you’ll see the effects are mixed for this.
AG and AA (both 18.1) had the highest empathy in “perspective taking” (a tendency of placing yourself in the position of others) compared to GG (16.0) .
GG had the highest level of “personal distress” empathy (16.8) (subjective feelings when observing the anguish and pain endured by others) compared to AA (15.3) and AG (14.4) .
GG had the highest “Fantasy” empathy (18.5) (the extent to which people can immerse themselves in the conditions of the fictitious characters’ feelings and actions) compared to both AA and AG (15.1). Fantasy empathy probably is a factor in how much you novels .
About 66% of the global population will have either GG or AG and about 34% of the global population has the AA version (less social).
At rs13316193, CC or CT has been associated with empathy, whereas TT (the risky version) has been linked to decreased expression of oxytocin receptors in the brain, depressive mood and greater risk for Autism .
~48% of the population has CT, ~36% has TT and 16% has CC (C=0.40)…
In romantic relationships, the TT genotype was associated with less empathic concern for a partner’s distress, lower social reciprocity in a support-giving interaction, and less persistence in attending to their partner’s communication and maintaining focus on providing support .
But a different study, total empathy wasn’t really different in most situations between groups. However, CT was associated with the most empathy in women .
At rs2268491, CT had the highest level of empathy (IRI=68.7), followed by TT (65.8) and then CC (60.7) .
The same was true for “cognitive empathy,” which is simply knowing how the other person feels and what they might be thinking. 59% of the population has CT, 32% have TT and 9% have CC .
According to one study, AG was the most empathetic genotype of rs2254298 (IRI=70.8), while GG and AA were equal in total empathy (~65.4). In cognitive empathy (putting yourself in someone else’s situation), AG (35.9) was the highest followed by GG (34.2) and AA (32.8) .
The A allele has been linked to lower risk for autism, depression and separation anxiety and with amygdala volume increase in both European and Asian populations .
In romantic relationships, the GG version was associated with less empathic concern to their partner’s distress, displayed lower social reciprocity in a support-giving interaction, and persisted less in attending to their partner’s communication and maintaining focus on providing support . This was observed behavior rather than self-reports. This study was looking at a group of genes in total, so it’s best not to read into it too much.
About 64% of the global population has GG, which is the less social version and 36% have either AA or AG (A=0.20).
Men with CC at rs4686302 were the most empathetic, especially with emotional empathy, and CT the least. Women with CT and TT were the most empathetic, by contrast. 49.5% of the population has CC, 27% has CT and 24% has TT .
At rs2268494, the TT genotype is associated with increased prosocial behavior. About 86% of the global population has TT. The A allele, which is not common (A=.07), was associated with risk for autism, which suggests lower oxytocin or less efficient oxytocin receptors .
In romantic relationships, people with the AA genotype experienced less empathic concern for their partner’s distress, displayed lower social reciprocity in a support-giving interaction, and persisted less in attending to their partner’s communication and maintaining focus on providing support .
The SNP rs237897 was significant only in men with regard to empathy/kindness (dictator game and social value orientation) .
- Click here to read more about oxytocin.
Associations between Oxytocin Receptor Gene Polymorphisms, Empathy towards Animals and Implicit Associations towards Animals
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
byMelanie Connor 1,*, Alistair B. Lawrence 1,2 and Sarah M. Brown 2
Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3 JG, UK
Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, Penicuik EH25 9RG, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2018, 8(8), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080140
Received: 26 July 2018 / Revised: 9 August 2018 / Accepted: 12 August 2018 / Published: 14 August 2018
View Full-TextDownload PDF
Oxytocin is a hormone which acts as a neurotransmitter has been associated with a wide range of human social behaviours.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) have been described to be involved with human-human empathy, however little is known about OXTR SNPs and human-animal empathy and spontaneous reactions towards animals.
This has been investigated in the present study with 161 British students and five extensively studied OXTR SNPs. Validated, standardized measures for empathy towards animals and spontaneous reactions towards animals have been employed.
Results indicate that females show higher levels of empathy and have more positive reactions towards animals than males. Furthermore, empathy towards animals was associated with the absence of the minor A allele on OXTR SNP rs2254298. These results indicate that OXTRs play a role not only for human social behaviours but also for human-animal interactions.
Oxytocin has been well researched in association with psychological variables and is widely accepted as a key modulator of human social behaviour. Previous work indicates involvement of oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in human-human empathy, however little is known about associations of OXTR SNPs with empathy and affective reactions of humans towards animals. Five OXTR SNPs previously found to associate with human social behaviour were genotyped in 161 students. Empathy towards animals and implicit associations were evaluated. A General Linear Model was used to investigate the OXTR alleles and allelic combinations along with socio-demographic variables and their influence on empathy towards animals. Empathy towards animals showed a significant association with OXTR SNP rs2254298; homozygous G individuals reported higher levels of empathy towards animals than heterozygous (GA). Our preliminary findings show, for the first time, that between allelic variation in OXTR and animal directed empathy in humans maybe associated, suggesting that OXTRs social behaviour role crosses species boundaries, warranting independent replication.View Full-Text
Keywords: OXTR; empathy; implicit associations; human-animal-interaction OXTR; empathy; implicit associations; human-animal-interaction
►▼Show FiguresThis is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Share and Cite
MDPI and ACS Style
Connor, M.; Lawrence, A.B.; Brown, S.M. Associations between Oxytocin Receptor Gene Polymorphisms, Empathy towards Animals and Implicit Associations towards Animals. Animals 2018, 8, 140.
Connor M, Lawrence AB, Brown SM. Associations between Oxytocin Receptor Gene Polymorphisms, Empathy towards Animals and Implicit Associations towards Animals. Animals. 2018; 8(8):140.
Connor, Melanie; Lawrence, Alistair B.; Brown, Sarah M. 2018. “Associations between Oxytocin Receptor Gene Polymorphisms, Empathy towards Animals and Implicit Associations towards Animals.” Animals 8, no. 8: 140.
Show more citation formatsShow less citations formats
Genes may contribute to marital satisfaction
Genes may have a discernible impact on the quality of a marriage, according to a recent study of couples in their middle and later years.
Share on PinterestNew research suggests that being happily married may have less to do with chance and more to do with genes.
Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, investigated how a gene variant that influences the so-called love hormone oxytocin might contribute to marital satisfaction and security.
The researchers invited 178 married couples aged between 37–90 years to complete surveys about their feelings of satisfaction and security in their marriage. Each volunteer also gave saliva samples for genetic testing.
The results showed that when at least one of the partners in a couple carried a particular version of the oxytocin-related gene, both partners reported greater marital security and satisfaction.
“This study,” says first author Joan K. Monin, who is an associate professor of public health, “shows that how we feel in our close relationships is influenced by more than just our shared experiences with our partners over time.”
“In marriage, people are also influenced by their own and their partner’s genetic predispositions,” she adds.
Throughout the evolution of “many species, ranging from invertebrates to mammals,” oxytocin, which is a hormone and chemical messenger, has been present.
In recent years, numerous studies have demonstrated oxytocin’s impact on different emotional and social behaviors and functions, ranging from social memory to bonding, social stress, empathy, and trust.
Oxytocin exerts its effect by binding to its corresponding receptor protein. The recent study focuses on variations that occur at location rs53576 on the oxytocin receptor gene OXTR.
The variation, or single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), can result in an A or a G version. An SNP is changing a single letter when spelling a word.
As each person inherits two copies of a gene, this means that this particular SNP has three “genotypes:” GG, AA, and AG.
Individuals who carry GG versions or who have GG genotypes of the SNP “show greater empathy, sociability, and emotional stability,” write the authors. They also note that studies of close relationships have linked these attributes to “better relationship outcomes.”
However, they believe that their study is the first to investigate links between partners’ oxytocin receptor gene variants and their marital satisfaction and security.
For their investigation, the researchers analyzed feelings of marital satisfaction and security against the GG, AG, and AA genotypes of the individual spouses.
The analysis showed that individuals with a GG genotype or whose partner had a GG genotype “reported greater marital satisfaction than individuals with AA or AG genotypes.”
Partners that both had a GG genotype accounted for around 4 percent of the variance in marital satisfaction.
The team suggests that while this figure seems low, it is not insignificant given the many other factors — environmental and genetic — that can influence couples.
The results also revealed that individuals with a GG genotype reported less “anxious attachment” in their relationship, which also helped their marital satisfaction.
Monin explains that studies have linked anxious attachment to having a high sensitivity to rejection, feelings of low self-worth, and “approval-seeking behavior.”
The authors conclude:
“Results of this study suggest that having at least one spouse in a marriage with an OXTR GG genotype is associated with both partners feeling satisfied and this is because spouses feel more securely attached to one another.”