To examine the potential moderating role of DRD2 polymorphism (rs1800497) in the association between stressful life events and depressive symptoms among young adults. Although stressful life events, such as divorce, unemployment, and serious illness in the family, are generally associated with negative health outcomes, including depressive symptoms, there are large individual differences in coping with such events. A number of studies suggest that variants in dopamine receptor genes, such as DRD2, are associated with depression but it is unclear if such variants also modify the association between life events and depression.
We analyzed the prospective data on life events and depressive symptoms in 1992 and 2001 related to 1611 young adults (672 men and 939 women, aged 15–30 years at baseline) who participated in the ongoing population-based cardiovascular risk in young Finns study.
Occurrence of stressful life events was associated with increased risk of subsequent depressive symptoms in men and women. However, this association was seen only among those who carried A2/A2 (n = 872) genotype. No such association was detected in participants carrying A1/A1 or A1/A2 (n = 486) genotype.
DRD2 polymorphism moderates the effect of stressful life events on depressive symptoms and those who carry A2/A2 DRD2 genotypes may be more vulnerable than others.
BMI = body mass index; CHD = coronary heart disease; CRYF = cardiovascular risk in young Finns; CVD = cardiovascular disease; HDL = high-density lipoprotein; LDL = low-density lipoprotein.