Objective: To test the association between the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met polymorphism and both aggressive behavior and attention problems in youth. We hypothesized that youth carrying a Met allele would have greater average aggressive behavior scores, and that youth exhibiting Val-homozygosity would have greater average attention problems scores. Method: Complete data on maternally rated Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) measures of aggressive behavior (AGG) and attention problems (AP), COMT polymorphism data, demographics, and maternal parenting quality were available for 149 youth (6 to 18 years old). Multivariable linear regression models were used to test the degree to which youth COMT Val158Met genotype was associated with AGG and AP while statistically controlling for age, gender, parental socioeconomic status (SES), and maternal parenting quality from the Alabama Parenting Questionnaire. Results: Mothers of Met-carriers rated their children higher on average AGG scores when compared with mothers of Val-homozygotes (p = .016). Further analyses revealed that this association was even more robust for maternal ratings of direct aggression (p = .007). The hypothesized association between Val-homozygosity and higher average AP scores relative to average AP scores of Met-carriers did not quite reach statistical significance (p = .062). Conclusions: After controlling for demographics, SES, and maternal parenting quality as confounders, there remains a strong association between youth carrying a Met allele and higher average AGG scores relative to Val-homozygotes.

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doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2010.05.015, hdl.handle.net/1765/28081
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Journal
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Albaugh, M., Harder, V., Althoff, R., Rettew, D., Ehli, E., Lengyel-Nelson, T., … Hudziak, J. (2010). COMT Val158Met genotype as a risk factor for problem behaviors in youth. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Journal, 49(8), 841–849. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2010.05.015