Differing models of association between childhood events, recent life stressors, psychological resilience and depression across three alleles of the serotonin transporter 5-HTTLPR

Christopher F. Sharpley, Suresh K A Palanisamy, James R. McFarlane

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Background: Although some previous research has implicated the short form (ss) of the serotonin transporter 5- HTTLPR gene in the association between distal and proximal environmental stress and depression, over 38% of studies included in a recent meta-analysis failed to support that finding. Another variant of the 5-HTTLPT, the sl, has been relatively under-examined and may explain the inconsistency of the ss/ll dichotomy. In addition, a potential "buffer" variable between proximal and distal stress and depression - psychological resilience - may interact with the forms of the 5-HTTLPR This study investigated the ways the three forms of the 5-HTTLPR interacted with distal and proximal stress, and psychological resilience, to predict depression.Methods: A volunteer community sample of 65 female and 55 male volunteers completed background, childhood stress (Adverse Childhood Events-ACE), recent stress RLS), depression (Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale-ZSDS) and resilience (Connors-Davidson Resilience Scale-CD-RISC) questionnaires, plus gave a sample for genotyping to determine presence of ss, sl, or ll variants of the 5-HTTLPRResults: Comparison of the regression equations for each 5-HTTLPR variant showed that the combination of ACE, RLS and CD-RISC significantly predicted ZSDS scores for the sl variant; ACE, CD-RISC (but not RLS) significantly predicted ZSDS for the ll variant; and none of these significantly predicted ZSDS for the ss variant. Conclusions: Previous inconsistentfindings regarding the differences in the stress-depression interaction for the ss and ll may be explained by the more complex interaction effects of the sl variant with distal and recent stressors and psychological resilience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-111
Number of pages9
JournalGerman Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


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