A PILOT STUDY OF DNA METHYLATION ACROSS THE SEROTONIN TRANSPORTER GENE FOLLOWING MARITAL SEPARATION
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractMarital separation and divorce are stressful life transitions associated with increased risk for a range of poor mental and physical health outcomes. A key task for research in this area is to identify individual differences that may shape risk for these adverse outcomes. This report examines the association between DNA methylation across the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) promoter region and self-reported emotional distress in a sample of 47 adults following a recent marital separation. Greater relative hypermethylation in the gene was associated with less subjective separation-related psychological distress. Significantly stronger negative associations were observed between methylation and psychological adjustment among participants who had more recently separated from their former partner. Although results derived from small samples should be considered preliminary, the current study raises a series of new questions about the role of DNA methylation and psychosocial adaptation to stressful life events such as divorce, and future studies can be informed by these findings.
Degree ProgramHonors College