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Behavioral and molecular genetics of dissociation: The role of the serotonin transporter gene promoter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR)

Authors

  • Suzanne Pieper,

    1. Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University
    Current affiliation:
    1. Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University
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  • Dorothée Out,

    1. Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University
    Current affiliation:
    1. Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University
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  • Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University
    Current affiliation:
    1. Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University
    • Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University, PO Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, The Netherlands
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  • Marinus H. van IJzendoorn

    1. Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University
    Current affiliation:
    1. Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University
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  • This research was supported by awards from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (MJBK: VIDI grant; MHvIJ: SPINOZA prize). We are grateful to Fieke Pannebakker, Jolanda den Heijer, Femke Pijlman, and several research assistants for their contribution to various parts of the study. Finally yet importantly, we thank the twins who participated in the study.

Abstract

We evaluated the role of the serotonin transporter gene promoter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) in the etiology of dissociation. Adult twin pairs (N = 184 pairs; mean age 33.0 years, SD = 10.8) completed measures for dissociation and trauma. The DNA samples were genotyped for 5-HTTLPR adjusted for rs25531 alleles. Behavioral genetic analyses showed that genetic factors explained 45% of the variance in dissociative symptoms, while 55% of the variance was explained by unique environment and measurement error. Participants with the SS genotype of 5-HTTLPR reported more dissociative symptoms compared to participants with the other genotypes (p = .02), and they showed more pathological dissociative symptoms than the other participants (p = .04) when they reported more depressive symptoms and when they had experienced trauma.

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