Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bullying by childhood peers leaves a trace that can change the expression of a gene linked to mood

Date:
December 18, 2012
Source:
Université de Montréal
Summary:
A recent study suggests that bullying by peers changes the structure surrounding a gene involved in regulating mood, making victims more vulnerable to mental health problems as they age.

New research suggests that bullying by peers changes the structure surrounding a gene involved in regulating mood, making victims more vulnerable to mental health problems as they age.
Credit: © stefanolunardi / Fotolia

A recent study by a researcher at the Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS) at the Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine and professor at the Université de Montréal suggests that bullying by peers changes the structure surrounding a gene involved in regulating mood, making victims more vulnerable to mental health problems as they age.

Related Articles


The study published in the journal Psychological Medicine seeks to better understand the mechanisms that explain how difficult experiences disrupt our response to stressful situations. "Many people think that our genes are immutable; however this study suggests that environment, even the social environment, can affect their functioning. This is particularly the case for victimization experiences in childhood, which change not only our stress response but also the functioning of genes involved in mood regulation," says Isabelle Ouellet-Morin, lead author of the study.

A previous study by Ouellet-Morin, conducted at the Institute of Psychiatry in London (UK), showed that bullied children secrete less cortisol -- the stress hormone -- but had more problems with social interaction and aggressive behaviour. The present study indicates that the reduction of cortisol, which occurs around the age of 12, is preceded two years earlier by a change in the structure surrounding a gene (SERT) that regulates serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation and depression.

To achieve these results, 28 pairs of identical twins with a mean age of 10 years were analyzed separately according to their experiences of bullying by peers: one twin had been bullied at school while the other had not. "Since they were identical twins living in the same conditions, changes in the chemical structure surrounding the gene cannot be explained by genetics or family environment. Our results suggest that victimization experiences are the source of these changes," says Ouellet-Morin. According to the author, it would now be worthwhile to evaluate the possibility of reversing these psychological effects, in particular, through interventions at school and support for victims.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Université de Montréal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. I. Ouellet-Morin, C. C. Y. Wong, A. Danese, C. M. Pariante, A. S. Papadopoulos, J. Mill, L. Arseneault. Increased serotonin transporter gene (SERT) DNA methylation is associated with bullying victimization and blunted cortisol response to stress in childhood: a longitudinal study of discordant monozygotic twins. Psychological Medicine, 2012; DOI: 10.1017/S0033291712002784

Cite This Page:

Université de Montréal. "Bullying by childhood peers leaves a trace that can change the expression of a gene linked to mood." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121218081615.htm>.
Université de Montréal. (2012, December 18). Bullying by childhood peers leaves a trace that can change the expression of a gene linked to mood. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121218081615.htm
Université de Montréal. "Bullying by childhood peers leaves a trace that can change the expression of a gene linked to mood." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121218081615.htm (accessed December 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Healthier Lifestyles Could Prevent 4 In 10 Cancer Cases

Healthier Lifestyles Could Prevent 4 In 10 Cancer Cases

Newsy (Dec. 26, 2014) — If patients had led healthier lifestyles, Cancer Research UK found about 40 percent of cancer cases could have been prevented. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
When Healthy Eating Becomes Dangerous

When Healthy Eating Becomes Dangerous

Newsy (Dec. 26, 2014) — Experts say fad diets can lead to orthorexia, a disorder that can cause physical and emotional distress. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Issues New Warning About Pure Caffeine Powder Usage

FDA Issues New Warning About Pure Caffeine Powder Usage

Newsy (Dec. 24, 2014) — The FDA cites two deaths this year linked to pure caffeine powder as warnings of the potentially fatal substance. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alarming CDC Lab Report Reveals Ebola Sample Mix-Up

Alarming CDC Lab Report Reveals Ebola Sample Mix-Up

Newsy (Dec. 24, 2014) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report claiming a lab tech in Atlanta might have been exposed to the Ebola virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins