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How possible is the development of an operational psychometric method to assess the presence of the 5-HTTLPR s allele? Equivocal preliminary findings


Abstract Objective The s allele of the 5-hydroxytryptamine transporter-linked promoter region (5-HTTLPR) polymorphism of the serotonin transporter gene has been found to be associated with neuroticism-related traits, affective temperaments and response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) treatment. The aim of the current study was to develop a psychometric tool that could at least partially substitute for laboratory testing and could predict the presence of the s allele. Methods The study included 138 women of Caucasian origin, mean 32.20 ± 1.02 years old. All subjects completed the Hungarian standardised version of the Temperament Evaluation of the Memphis, Pisa, Paris, and San Diego Autoquestionnaire (TEMPS-A) instrument and were genotyped for 5-HTTLPR using PCR. The statistical analysis included the calculation of the Index of Discrimination (D), Discriminant Function Analysis, creation of scales on the basis of the above and then item analysis and calculation of sensitivity and specificity. Results Four indices were eventually developed, but their psychometric properties were relatively poor and their joint application did not improve the outcome. Conclusions We could not create a scale that predicts the 5-HTTLPR genotype with sufficient sensitivity and specificity, therefore we could not substitute a psychometric scale for laboratory genetic testing in predicting genotype, and also possibly affective disorder characterisation and treatment.

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