Relationships between angry-impulsive personality traits and genetic polymorphisms of the dopamine transporter

Peter R Joyce, Patrick C McHugh, Katrina J Light, Sarah Rowe, Allison L Miller, Martin A Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The 9-repeat variable number tandem repeat allele of the dopamine transporter has recently been associated with borderline personality disorder (BPD) in depressed patients.

METHODS: We investigated the association between the 9-repeat allele of the dopamine transporter and angry-impulsive personality traits in a family study with 512 subjects on the molecular genetics of depression and personality.

RESULTS: Across the whole sample, the 9-repeat allele of the dopamine transporter was associated with angry-impulsive personality traits (p = .002). This association was stronger in subjects with no history of mood disorders or BPD (odds ratio [OR] = 4.85, p = .008) than in subjects with a history of mood disorders (OR = 1.73, p = .033). Angry-impulsive traits were also associated with lifetime mood disorder diagnoses and with BPD.

CONCLUSIONS: The associations reported in this article suggest that the 9-repeat allele of the dopamine transporter is associated with angry-impulsive personality traits, independent of any link to mood disorder or BPD. This could form the basis of a dopaminergic neurobiological model of angry-impulsive personality traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-21
Number of pages5
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2009


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