Sijtsema J.J., Veenstra, R., Lindenberg, S., Van Roon, A.M., Verhulst, F.C., Ormel, J., Riese, H. Heart Rate and Antisocial Behavior: Mediation and Moderation by Affiliation Bullies. The TRAILS Study. Journal of Adolescent Health. J Adolesc Health. 2013 Jan;52(1):102-7
Purpose: Low heart rate has been linked to antisocial behavior. However, the effect of low heart rate may be mediated by affiliation with bullies. We hypothesized that individuals with low heart rate are more likely to affiliate with bullies and in turn are influenced by these peers. Method: Data come from two waves of a subsample of the TRAILS study (N=809; 44.0% boys; mean age 11.0 at T1 and 13.5 at T2). Antisocial behavior was measured via the Antisocial Behavior Questionnaire at both waves. Heart rate was assessed during rest at T1. Affiliation with bullies was assessed via peer-nominations at T1. Possible gender differences were taken into account and all analyses were adjusted for family context (i.e., family break-up and SES). Results: Regression analyses showed that lower heart rate was only associated with antisocial behavior in (pre)adolescents who affiliated with bullies. Moreover, the effect of lower heart rate on boys’ antisocial behavior went partly via affiliation with bullies. Conclusions: Our findings show that (pre)adolescents, and in particular boys, seem to be in environments that match their biological disposition and in turn are shaped by this environment.
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Zwaan, M., Dijkstra, J.K., & Veenstra, R. (2013). Status Hierarchy, Attractiveness Hierarchy, and Sex Ratio: Three Contextual Factors Explaining the Status-Aggression Link among Adolescents, International Journal of Behavioral Development. International Journal of Behavioral Development 1–11 (2013)
The moderating effects of three specific conditions (status hierarchy, attractiveness hierarchy, and sex ratio) on the link between status (popularity) and physical and relational aggression were examined in a large sample of adolescent boys (N = 1,665) and girls (N = 1,637) (M age = 13.60). In line with the hypotheses, derived from integrating a goal-framing perspective with an evolutionary perspective, it was found for boys that status was more strongly related to both physical and relational aggression in classrooms when differences in status (status hierarchy) and physical attractiveness between same-gender peers (attractiveness hierarchy) were smaller, and to relational aggression when cross-gender peers (potential mating partners) were relatively scarce. For girls, status hierarchy and attractiveness hierarchy only moderated the link between status and relational aggression. These results suggest that competition to a certain extent triggers aggression by high status adolescents. The findings are discussed from a broader evolutionary perspective, and the utility of this approach for understanding adolescents’ behavior in the peer context is considered.
Kretschmer, T., Dijkstra, J.K., Ormel, J., Verhulst, F., & Veenstra, R. (2013) Dopamine receptor D4 gene moderates the effect of positive and negative peer experiences on later delinquency: The Tracking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey study. Development and Psychopathology, 25, 1107-1117.
Corticotropin (ACTH)-reactive immunoglobulins in adolescents in relation to antisocial behavior and stress-induced cortisol response. The TRAILS study. Schaefer JM, Fetissov SO, Legrand R, Claeyssens S, Hoekstra PJ, Verhulst FC, Van Oort FVA. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013, 38(12), 3039-3047
Dijkstra, J.K., Lindenberg, S., Zijlstra, L. Bouma, E. & Veenstra, R. (2013). The secret ingredient for social success of young males: A functional polymorphism in the 5HT2A serotonin receptor gene. PLOS ONE, 2013; 8(2)
Dietrich A., Ormel J, Buitelaar JK, Minderaa RB, Verhulst FC, Hoekstra PJ, Hartman CA. Cortisol in the morning and dimensions of anxiety, depression, and aggression in children from a general population and clinic-referred cohort: An integrated analysis. The TRAILS study. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2013, 38(8), 1281-1289
Anxiety and depressive problems have often been related to higher hypothalamic— pituitary—adrenal (HPA)-axis activity (basal morning cortisol levels and cortisol awakening response [CAR]) and externalizing problems to lower HPA-axis activity. However, associations appear weaker and more inconsistent than initially assumed. Previous studies from the Tracking Adolescents Individual Lives Study (TRAILS) suggested sex-differences in these relationships and differential associations with specific dimensions of depressive problems in a general population sample of children (10—12 years). Using the TRAILS population sample (n = 1604), we tested hypotheses on the association between single day cortisol (basal morning levels and CAR) and specifically constructed dimensions of anxiety (cognitive versus somatic), depressive (cognitive-affective versus somatic), and externalizing problems (reactive versus proactive aggression), and explored the modifying role of sex. Moreover, we repeated analyses in an independent same-aged clinic-referred sample (n = 357). Structural Equation Modeling was used to investigate the association between cortisol and higher- and lower-order (thus, broad and specific) problem dimensions based on self-reports in an integrated model. Overall, findings were consistent across the population and clinic-referred samples, as well as with the existing literature. Most support was found for higher cortisol (mainly CAR) in relation to depressive problems. However, in general, associations were weak in both samples. Therefore, the present results shed doubt on the relevance of single day cortisol measurements for problem behaviors in the milder range. Associations may be stronger in more severe or persistent psychopathology.
Marsman, R., Oldehinkel, A.J., Ormel, J., Buitelaar, J.K. The dopamine receptor D4 and familial loading interact with perceived parenting in predicting externalizing behavior problems in early adolescence. The TRAILS study. Psychiatry Res. 2013, 209(1), 66-73
Although externalizing behavior problems show in general a high stability over time, the course of externalizing behavior problems may vary from individual to individual. Our main goal was to investigate the predictive role of parenting on externalizing behavior problems. In addition, we investigated the potential moderating role of gender and genetic risk (operationalized as familial loading of externalizing behavior problems (FLE), and presence or absence of the DRD4 7-repeat and 4-repeat allele, respectively). Perceived parenting (rejection, emotional warmth, and overprotection) and FLE were assessed in a population-based sample of 1768 10- to 12-year-old adolescents. Externalizing behavior problems were assessed at the same age and 212 years later by parent report (CBCL) and self-report (YSR). DNA was extracted from blood samples. Parental emotional warmth predicted lower, and parental overprotection and rejection predicted higher levels of externalizing behavior problems. Whereas none of the parenting factors interacted with gender and the DRD4 7-repeat allele, we did find interaction effects with FLE and the DRD4 4-repeat allele. That is, the predictive effect of parental rejection was only observed in adolescents from low FLE families and the predictive effect of parental overprotection was stronger in adolescents not carrying the DRD4 4-repeat allele.
Sijtsema J.J. , Nederhof, E., Veenstra, R., Ormel, J., Oldehinkel, A.J., Ellis, B.J. Effects of Family Cohesion and Heart Rate Reactivity on Aggressive/Rule-breaking Behavior and Prosocial Behavior in Adolescence. The TRAILS Study. Development & Psychopathology 2013, 25(3), 699-712
The Biological Sensitivity to Context hypothesis (BSC) posits that high physiological reactivity (i.e., increases in arousal from baseline) constitutes heightened sensitivity to environmental influences, for better or worse. To test this hypothesis, we examined the interactive effects of family cohesion and heart rate reactivity to a public speaking task on aggressive/rule-breaking and prosocial behavior in a large sample of adolescents (N = 679; M age= 16.14). Multivariate analyses revealed small to medium sized main effects of lower family cohesion and lower heart rate reactivity on higher levels of aggressive/rule-breaking and lower levels of prosocial behavior. Although there was some evidence of 3-way interactions between family cohesion, heart rate reactivity, and sex in predicting these outcome variables, these interactions were not in the direction predicted by the BSC hypothesis. Instead, heightened reactivity appeared to operate as a protective factor against family adversity, rather than as a susceptibility factor. Results of the present study raise the possibility that stress reactivity may no longer operate as a mechanism of differential susceptibility in adolescence.