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The long and the short of it: associations between 5-HTT genotypes and coping with stress


OBJECTIVE: To examine whether the strategies people use to cope with stress were associated with differing serotonin transporter (5-HTT) genotypes. The short (s) variant of the 5-HTT promoter polymorphism has been associated with an increased likelihood of depression after significant life stress and greater emotional reactivity to fear-invoking stimuli. METHODS: Coping strategies were assessed within a longitudinal study in 1993. Ten years later, genomic DNA was obtained for 127 participants and genotypes for the 5-HTT promoter polymorphism were determined. Coping strategies were grouped into coping scales and also using an exploratory factor analysis. Using ordinal regression, associations were then examined between the coping scales and the 5-HTT genotype and gender. RESULTS: The short variant of the 5-HTT promoter polymorphism was associated with the use of fewer problem-solving strategies. This genotype effect differed significantly between the sexes and was greatest for males. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that coping is influenced by 5-HTT genotype, gender, and their interaction. We raise the possibility that a gene-related disposition to greater emotional reactivity may preclude those with the short variant of the 5-HTT promoter polymorphism from drawing on problem-solving strategies to deal with stress.

Type Journal
ISBN 1534-7796 (Electronic)
Authors Wilhelm, K.;Siegel, J. E.;Finch, A. W.;Hadzi-Pavlovic, D.;Mitchell, P. B.;Parker, G.;Schofield, P. R. :
Published Date 2007-01-01
Published Volume 69
Published Issue 7
Published Pages 614-20
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version