State and trait variance in salivary α-amylase: A behavioral genetic study

Dorothée Out, Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg, Douglas A. Granger, Christa M. Cobbaert, Marinus H. van Ijzendoorn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This is the first behavior genetic study of salivary α-amylase (sAA), focusing on genetic and environmental influences on stability and change in sAA during baseline and exposure to infant crying. The sample consisted of 184 adult twin pairs. Although there was significant variation between individuals in basal levels of sAA and in responsivity to infant crying, strong stability in sAA concentrations across conditions was found. Similar genetic mechanisms influenced sAA at baseline and in response to cry sounds (explained variance: 51-62%), accounting for part of the stability in sAA. Unique environmental factors explained the remaining variance in sAA, some of them only emerging in response to the cry sounds, explaining individual differences in the pattern of reactivity. These findings confirm that sAA is sensitive to the effects of potentially stressful stimuli (state variance) and at the same time demonstrate its relative robustness and stability across time and conditions (trait variance).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-154
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Psychology
Volume88
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Behavior genetics
  • Genes
  • Infant crying
  • Salivary α-amylase
  • Twins

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