Journal article

Sometimes It's Good to be Short: The Serotonin Transporter Gene, Positive Parenting, and Adolescent Depression

Keriann Little, Craig A Olsson, Sarah Whittle, Jacqui A Macdonald, Lisa B Sheeber, George J Youssef, Julian G Simmons, Ann V Sanson, Debra L Foley, Nicholas B Allen

Child Development | WILEY | Published : 2019


In threatening environments, the short (S) allele of 5-HTTLPR is proposed to augment risk for depression. However, it is unknown whether 5-HTTLPR variation increases risk for depression in environments of deprivation, lacking positive or nurturant features. Two independent longitudinal studies (n = 681 and 176, respectively) examined whether 5-HTTLPR moderated associations between low levels of positive parenting at 11-13 years and subsequent depression at 17-19 years. In both studies only LL homozygous adolescents were at greater risk for depression with decreasing levels of positive parenting. Thus, while the S allele has previously been identified as a susceptible genotype, these findings..

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Awarded by ARC Principal Research Fellowship

Awarded by NHMRC Career Development Fellowship

Funding Acknowledgements

Funding for this analysis was supported through grants from the Colonial Foundation, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), and the Australian Research Council (ARC). Keriann Little is supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award. Prof. Craig Olsson is supported by an ARC Principal Research Fellowship (DORA: 1311459). Dr. Sarah Whittle is supported by an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (ID: 1007716). Dr. Debra L. Foley is supported by the Colonial Foundation (Australia). We also acknowledge members of the University of Oregon ADAPT Laboratory who provided helpful comments on a previous version of this article. The authors reported no biomedical financial interests or potential conflicts of interest.