BACKGROUND: The etiology and pathology of anxiety disorders involve both genetic and environmental influences. Adverse working conditions may contribute to the development of anxiety. The serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) has been implicated in stress sensitivity. Therefore, we investigated the potential interplay between 5-HTTLPR and job-related risk factors in the prediction of the occurrence of anxiety.
METHODS: We conducted a prospective study using the first two waves of a Swedish population-based cohort. At Wave I, 1585 individuals without anxiety, depression or dysthymia who were active in the labor market during both waves were included. Information on job demands, skill discretion, decision authority and social climate was collected at Wave I. After a three year interval, the presence of anxiety disorders was determined at Wave II. All 1585 participants were genotyped for 5-HTTLPR. Both additive and multiplicative models were considered in examining the potential interaction between 5-HTTLPR and adverse working conditions on the development of anxiety.
RESULTS: Anxiety was associated with high job demands but not with 5-HTTLPR. An interaction was observed between 5-HTTLPR and high job demands among females. Individuals with 5-HTTLPR high expression genotype (LL) developed anxiety disorders more frequently when exposed to high job demands compared to 'LS/SS' carriers.
LIMITATIONS: A limited number of participants developed anxiety.
CONCLUSIONS: High job demands predict the development of anxiety. The 5-HTT polymorphism has a moderating effect on the relationship between high job demands and anxiety among females.
2013. Vol. 151, no 2, 652-659 p.