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Biological Pathways and Genetic Mechanisms Involved in Social Functioning

Aufsätze referiert extern - Web of Science

Juan R. Ordonana, Maike Bartels, Dorret I. Boomsma, David Cella, Miriam Mosing, Joao R. Oliveira, Donald L. Patrick, Ruut Veenhoven, Gert G. Wagner, Mirjam A.G. Sprangers

In: Quality of Life Research 22 (2013), 6, S. 1189-1200


Purpose: To describe the major findings in the literature regarding associations between biological and genetic factors and social functioning, paying special attention to: (1) heritability studies on social functioning and related concepts; (2) hypothesized biological pathways and genetic variants that could be involved in social functioning, and (3) the implications of these results for quality-of-life research. Methods: A search of Web of Science and PubMed databases was conducted using combinations of the following keywords: genetics, twins, heritability, social functioning, social adjustment, social interaction, and social dysfunction. Results: Variability in the definitions and measures of social functioning was extensive. Moderate to high heritability was reported for social functioning and related concepts, including prosocial behavior, loneliness, and extraversion. Disorders characterized by impairments in social functioning also show substantial heritability. Genetic variants hypothesized to be involved in social functioning are related to the network of brain structures and processes that are known to affect social cognition and behavior. Conclusions: Better knowledge and understanding about the impact of genetic factors on social functioning is needed to help us to attain a more comprehensive view of health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) and will ultimately enhance our ability to identify those patients who are vulnerable to poor social functioning.

Gert G. Wagner

Senior Research Fellow in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

Keywords: Quality of life, Social functioning, Patient-reported outcomes, Genetic variants, Genetic underpinning