American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA)

Document Type

Conference Proceeding




Resilience is defined as a multi-dimensional dynamic concept of positive adaptation to stress and trauma. It is estimated that 38 - 52% of phenotypic variation in resilience among Americans is due to genetic variance. Among nine candidate genes associated with resilience, the promoter region of serotonin transporter gene (5- HTTLPR) is of increasing clinical interest. Accumulating evidence suggests those who carry the Short (S) allele of 5-HTTLPR may be at increased risk of developing psychopathology such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, little is known about whether S allele carriers are less resilient to stress and trauma compared to Long (L) allele carriers. The purpose of this poster was to conduct an integrative review on the role of 5-HTTLPR in resilience to stress and trauma. PubMed, EMBASE, PsychINFO, and CINAHL databases were searched in January 2014. The keywords used were combinations of the following: “serotonin transporter gene”, “5-HTTLPR”, and “resilience”. Twenty-six articles were identified and reviewed. The results were mixed: 17 studies suggested the S allele is associated with less resilience whereas 4 studies suggested the S allele is associated with more resilience. Potential causes for the inconsistent results were examined, such as the definition of resilience, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), and gene by environment interaction. It is recommended that future studies should conceptualize and operationalize resilience more clearly, investigate SNP, and study both the negative and positive environments.