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Recent studies show that adverse life events have a significantly greater impact on depression onset for those with the s/s allele of the genotype for the 5-HT gene-linked promoter region. Research in genes related to risk of depression leads to the question of how this information is received by individuals.
To investigate factors related to the response to receiving one's own serotonin transporter genotype results.
Predictors of the impact of receiving individual genotype data were assessed in 128 participants in a study of gene–environment interaction in depression onset.
Two-thirds decided to learn their individual genotype results (receivers) and prior to disclosure this decision was associated with a perception of greater benefit from receipt of the information (P=0.001). Receivers completing the 2-week (n=76) and 3-month follow-up (n=78) generally reported feeling pleased with the information and having had a more positive experience than distress. However, distress was related to genotype, with those with the s/s allele being most affected.
There was high interest in, and satisfaction with, learning about one's serotonin transporter genotype. Participants appeared to understand that the gene conferred susceptibility to depression rather than a direct causal effect.
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