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1.  The 5-HTTLPR Polymorphism in the Serotonin Transporter Gene Moderates the Association between Emotional Behavior and Changes in Marital Satisfaction over Time 
Emotion (Washington, D.C.)  2013;13(6):1068-1079.
Why do some individuals become dissatisfied with their marriages when levels of negative emotion are high and levels of positive emotions are low, whereas others remain unaffected? Using data from a 13-year longitudinal study of middle-aged and older adults in long-term marriages, we examined whether the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene moderates the association between negative and positive emotional behavior (objectively measured during marital conflict) and changes in marital satisfaction over time. For individuals with two short alleles of 5-HTTLPR, higher negative and lower positive emotional behavior at Time 1 predicted declines in marital satisfaction over time (even after controlling for depression and other covariates). For individuals with one or two long alleles, emotional behavior did not predict changes in marital satisfaction. We also found evidence for a crossover interaction (individuals with two short alleles of 5-HTTLPR and low levels of negative or high levels of positive emotion had the highest levels of marital satisfaction). These findings provide the first evidence of a specific genetic polymorphism that moderates the association between emotional behavior and changes in marital satisfaction over time and are consistent with increasing evidence that the short allele of this polymorphism serves as a susceptibility factor that amplifies sensitivity to both negative and positive emotional influences.
doi:10.1037/a0033761
PMCID: PMC4067734  PMID: 24098925
Emotional behavior; genetic polymorphisms; 5-HTTLPR; relationships
2.  The Impact of Group Drumming on Social-Emotional Behavior in Low-Income Children 
Low-income youth experience social-emotional problems linked to chronic stress that are exacerbated by lack of access to care. Drumming is a non-verbal, universal activity that builds upon a collectivistic aspect of diverse cultures and does not bear the stigma of therapy. A pretest-post-test non-equivalent control group design was used to assess the effects of 12 weeks of school counselor-led drumming on social-emotional behavior in two fifth-grade intervention classrooms versus two standard education control classrooms. The weekly intervention integrated rhythmic and group counseling activities to build skills, such as emotion management, focus and listening. The Teacher's Report Form was used to assess each of 101 participants (n = 54 experimental, n = 47 control, 90% Latino, 53.5% female, mean age 10.5 years, range 10–12 years). There was 100% retention. ANOVA testing showed that intervention classrooms improved significantly compared to the control group in broad-band scales (total problems (P < .01), internalizing problems (P < .02)), narrow-band syndrome scales (withdrawn/depression (P < .02), attention problems (P < .01), inattention subscale (P < .001)), Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-oriented scales (anxiety problems (P < .01), attention deficit/hyperactivity problems (P < .01), inattention subscale (P < .001), oppositional defiant problems (P < .03)), and other scales (post-traumatic stress problems (P < .01), sluggish cognitive tempo (P < .001)). Participation in group drumming led to significant improvements in multiple domains of social-emotional behavior. This sustainable intervention can foster positive youth development and increase student-counselor interaction. These findings underscore the potential value of the arts as a therapeutic tool.
doi:10.1093/ecam/neq072
PMCID: PMC3095989  PMID: 21660091

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