Are There Any Genetic Factors That May Enhance Or Reduce Our Response To Stress?

Question: Are there any genetic factors that may enhance or reduce our response to stress?

Answer: Of course genes are playing a very important role in our sensitivity or resistance to stress. There have been some very good examples in recent research showing that people who have a certain genotype on a serotonin-related gene -- gene that regulates the neurotransmitter serotonin in our brains -- people who have a certain variant of that gene are much more likely to become depressed if they experience stressful life events over a period of years.

Another serotonin-related gene has been found to identify men who, if they've been abused when they were children, are much more likely to be violent offenders when they grow up. So those are fairly extreme examples of how our genes make us more susceptible to the bad effects of stress on both our mental health and behavior -- even ranging up to criminal behavior.

There are other genes that affect how our personality develops. So, for example, this tendency to experience negative emotions -- this part of the personality that drives the increase of negative emotions when one is under stress, has also been found to be influenced by our genotype on a certain serotonin-related gene. People who have a short copy of this gene are much more likely to have greater negative emotions flaring up when they're under stress than people who have a long copy of this gene. So it's no question that our genes and our environment interact to strongly affect our sensitivity to stress or our resilience against the effects of stress.

Next: Are Children Prone To The Effects Of Stress?


Previous: Do We Know Why Some People Feel 'Less Stressed' Than Others Or Just Cope Better With Stress?
-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4672870. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4672870. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4672870. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4672870. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4672870.
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
A Gilchrist county sheriffs car sits at the end of a trailer home where 7 members of a family were slain by their grandfather in Bell, FL, Thursday, Sept., 18, 2014. The grandfather, Don Spirit, pictured, also killed himself.
Phil Sandlin/AP Photo | Gilchrist County Sheriffs Office
St. Andre Bessette Catholic Church in Ecorse Michigan
PHOTO: Strawberries and cream are a healthy--and delicious--pairing to enjoy after a workout.
EMWestwood Photography/Getty Images