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Sicorello, Maurizio; Dieckmann, Linda; Moser, Dirk; Lux, Vanessa; Luhmann, Maike; Neubauer, Andreas B.; Schlotz, Wolff; Kumsta, Robert:

Highs and lows
Genetic susceptibility to daily events

In: PLoS ONE, (2020) 15 , e0237001

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Document type
3a. Beiträge in begutachteten Zeitschriften; Aufsatz (keine besondere Kategorie)

Person, Gen, Serotonin, Einflussfaktor, Umgebung, Ereignis, Emotionaler Zustand, Belastung, Verhaltensgenetik, Smartphone, Online, Befragung, Bochum, Deutschland

Why people differ in their susceptibility to external events is essential to our understanding of personality, human development, and mental disorders. Genes explain a substantial portion of these differences. Specifically, genes influencing the serotonin system are hypothesized to be differential susceptibility factors, determining a person's reactivity to both positive and negative environments. We tested whether genetic variation in the serotonin transporter (5-HTTLPR) is a differential susceptibility factor for daily events. Participants (N = 326, 77% female, mean age = 25, range = 17-36) completed smartphone questionnaires four times a day over four to five days, measuring stressors, uplifts, positive and negative affect. Affect was predicted from environment valence in the previous hour on a within-person level using three-level autoregressive linear mixed models. The 5-HTTLPR fulfilled all criteria of a differential susceptibility factor: Positive affect in carriers of the short allele (S) was less reactive to both uplifts and stressors, compared to homozygous carriers of the long allele (L/L). This pattern might reflect relative affective inflexibility in S-allele carriers. Our study provides insight into the serotonin system's general role in susceptibility and highlights the need to assess the whole spectrum of naturalistic experiences.

Education and Human Development