Childhood sexual abuse and impulsive personality traits: Mixed evidence for moderation by DRD4 genotype

K. Paige Harden, Marie D. Carlson, Natalie Kretsch, William Corbin, Kim Fromme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


This project examines associations between childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and two dimensions of impulsivity (sensation seeking and premeditation), and tests whether CSA-personality associations are moderated by the DRD4 exon III VNTR polymorphism. Sample 1 is from a longitudinal study of university students measured at 10 waves over ages 18-24. years (n=500). Sample 2 is from a national sample of young adult sibling pairs, ages 18-24, from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (n=2559). In both samples, CSA was associated with elevated sensation seeking. In Sample 1, the association between CSA and sensation seeking was moderated by DRD4 genotype; this gene. ×. environment interaction effect, however, was not replicated in Sample 2. Results suggest new avenues for research on CSA in the area of normal-range personality variation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-40
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015



  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Diathesis stress
  • Differential susceptibility
  • DRD4
  • Gene-environment interaction
  • Impulsivity
  • Sensation seeking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Psychology(all)

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