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An exploratory study on the psychological and epigenetic correlates of internet addiction

1 Faculty of Psychology, International Telematic University Uninettuno, Rome, Italy
2 Department of Clinical and Dynamic Psychology, University of Rome, Rome, Italy
3 Clinical Psychologist & Research Associate Desousa Foundation, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
4 Department of Psychiatry, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Sagar Karia,
OPD 21,Department of Psychiatry, New OPD Building, 2nd Floor, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and G.H., Sion, Mumbai - 400 022, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aip.aip_13_21

Background: The dopamine active transporter (DAT) gene has been implicated in various psychiatric disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and externalizing behaviors. Studies on the methylation loci of DAT and Internet addiction (IA) are sparse. The study aimed to look at the association between various methylation loci of the DAT gene and IA, impulsivity, and other related variables. Methodology: Thirty-two youths with 10/10 genotype of DAT gene were administered the IA Test, Barratt's Impulsivity Scale (BIS), and Adult Self-Report Scale and using buccal swab methylation loci 1–7 of DAT gene were assessed. The data were analyzed by a correlation between various variables and a multiple regression analysis. Results: It was noted that the met5 allele (r = 0.844, P < 0.01) and met7 allele (r = 0.517, P = 0.01) correlated with DAT MEDIA scores. The total scores on the BIS and Internet Addiction Scale (IAS) also showed a positive correlation (r = 0.641, P = 0.01). Positive correlations were also noted between the scores on IAS and rule-breaking behavior as well as withdrawn behavior. Similar positive correlations were found between total scores on the BIS and rule-breaking behavior, withdrawn behavior, and intrusive behavior. Conclusions: Further studies in larger samples are needed to draw conclusions on the relationship between DAT gene methylation loci and IA or impulsivity.

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