Interaction of child maltreatment and 5-HTT polymorphisms: Suicidal ideation among children from low-SES backgrounds

Dante Cicchetti, Fred A. Rogosch, Melissa Sturge-Apple, Sheree L. Toth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


ObjectiveTo investigate whether genotypic variation of the serotonin transporter gene-linked promoter region (5-HTTLPR) moderates the effect of maltreatment on suicidal ideation in school-aged children. MethodsEight hundred and fifty low-income children (478 maltreated; 372 non-maltreated) provided DNA samples and self-reported depressive and suicidal symptoms. Genotypes of 5-HTTLPR (s/s or s/l vs. l/l) were determined by fragment analyses.ResultsHigher suicidal ideation was found among maltreated than non-maltreated children; the groups did not differ in 5-HTTLPR genotype frequencies. Children with one to two maltreatment subtypes and s/s or s/l genotypes had higher suicidal ideation than those with the l/l genotype; suicidal ideation did not differ in non-maltreated children or children with three to four maltreatment subtypes based on 5-HTTLPR variation. The results were applicable to emotionally maltreated/neglected and to physically/sexually abused children. Gene-environment interaction was not found for depressive symptoms. ConclusionThe protective effect of the 5-HTTLPR l/l genotype on suicidal ideation was limited to maltreated children experiencing fewer subtypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)536-546
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • 5-HTTLPR
  • Child maltreatment
  • Gene-environment interaction.
  • Suicidal ideation


Dive into the research topics of 'Interaction of child maltreatment and 5-HTT polymorphisms: Suicidal ideation among children from low-SES backgrounds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this