Is THIS genetic TOO? – Adolescent males who possess a variation in a certain specific gene are more likely hang out with the wrong kinds of kids?and even become juvenile delinquents themselves.

Criminologist Kevin M. Beaver says, “This research is groundbreaking because it shows that the propensity in some adolescents to affiliate with delinquent peers is tied up in the genome.”

Criminological research has long linked antisocial, drug-using and criminal behavior to delinquent peers?in fact, belonging to such a peer group is one of the strongest correlates to both youthful and adult crime.

If this is genetic, is there any way to change it? The association between the gene and delinquent peer affiliation applies mostly to those who have both the gene AND a high-risk family environment (with a disengaged mother and an absence of maternal affection). In contrast, adolescent males with the very same gene variation who lived in low-risk families (those with high levels of maternal engagement and warmth) showed no affinity for antisocial friends.

Beaver says, “Perhaps the [gene] is triggered by constant stress or the general lack of support, whereas in low-risk households, the variation might remain inactive. Or it’s possible that?parents from low-risk families are simply better able to monitor and control such genetic tendencies.”

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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