The MAOA gene predicts happiness in women

Henian Chen, Daniel S. Pine, Monique Ernst, Elena Gorodetsky, Stephanie Kasen, Kathy Gordon, David Goldman, Patricia Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Psychologists, quality of life and well-being researchers have grown increasingly interested in understanding the factors that are associated with human happiness. Although twin studies estimate that genetic factors account for 35-50% of the variance in human happiness, knowledge of specific genes is limited. However, recent advances in molecular genetics can now provide a window into neurobiological markers of human happiness. This investigation examines association between happiness and monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) genotype. Data were drawn from a longitudinal study of a population-based cohort, followed for three decades. In women, low expression of MAOA (MAOA-L) was related significantly to greater happiness (0.261 SD increase with one L-allele, 0.522 SD with two L-alleles, P = 0.002) after adjusting for the potential effects of age, education, household income, marital status, employment status, mental disorder, physical health, relationship quality, religiosity, abuse history, recent negative life events and self-esteem use in linear regression models. In contrast, no such association was found in men. This new finding may help explain the gender difference on happiness and provide a link between MAOA and human happiness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-125
Number of pages4
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Keywords

  • Happiness
  • MAOA
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Biological Psychiatry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The MAOA gene predicts happiness in women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this