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Mol Psychiatry. 2004 Feb;9(2):197-202.

A meta-analysis of the association between the serotonin transporter gene polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) and trait anxiety.

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Veteran's Administration Medical Center, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.


Studies of the association between polymorphisms of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTT) and trait anxiety have produced inconsistent results, raising questions about the strength of the relationship and the methodological conditions under which the relationship holds. We conducted a meta-analysis of existing studies to provide formal statistical measures of the strength of the linked polymorphic region of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR)-anxiety relationship. For the entire collection of 26 studies, results provided no support for a relationship between anxiety and the presence of the short form of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism. There was strong evidence of the presence of moderating variables, however, and subsequent analysis revealed that choice of the measure of trait anxiety was significant. Studies using the Neuroticism scale of Costa and McCrae were found to produce a small positive effect (d=0.23). Other potential moderators (country of study origin, type of subject) did not have a meaningful impact on d statistics. These findings indicate that 5-HTTLPR may in fact have a small but reliable influence on personality, particularly in the manifestation of trait anxiety when measured with a neuroticism scale based on the five-factor model of personality. Our results suggest that the success of future personality genetics research will be maximized by the use of personality measures from both the psychobiological and five-factor models.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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