Afraid to help: Social anxiety partially mediates the association between 5-HTTLPR triallelic genotype and prosocial behavior

Scott F. Stoltenberg, Christa C. Christ, Gustavo Carlo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is growing evidence that the serotonin system influences prosocial behavior. We examined whether anxiety mediated the association between variation in the serotonin transporter gene regulatory region (5-HTTLPR) and prosocial behavior. We collected self-reported tendencies to avoid certain situations and history of helping others using standard instruments and buccal cells for standard 5-HTTLPR genotyping from 398 undergraduate students. Triallelic 5-HTTLPR genotype was significantly associated with prosocial behavior and the effect was partially mediated by social anxiety, such that those carrying the S′ allele reported higher levels of social avoidance and lower rates of helping others. These results are consistent with accounts of the role of serotonin on anxiety and prosocial behavior and suggest that targeted efforts to reduce social anxiety in S′ allele carriers may enhance prosocial behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-406
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Volume8
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013

Fingerprint

genotype
Anxiety
Genotype
anxiety
Serotonin
allele
Alleles
Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
Cheek
Nucleic Acid Regulatory Sequences
student
Students
gene
history
Genes
evidence

Keywords

  • Altruism
  • Avoidance
  • Behavioral inhibition
  • SLC6A4
  • rs25531

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Afraid to help : Social anxiety partially mediates the association between 5-HTTLPR triallelic genotype and prosocial behavior. / Stoltenberg, Scott F.; Christ, Christa C.; Carlo, Gustavo.

In: Social Neuroscience, Vol. 8, No. 5, 01.09.2013, p. 400-406.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{39a265cd27c64b35aeabd13d888e4b17,
title = "Afraid to help: Social anxiety partially mediates the association between 5-HTTLPR triallelic genotype and prosocial behavior",
abstract = "There is growing evidence that the serotonin system influences prosocial behavior. We examined whether anxiety mediated the association between variation in the serotonin transporter gene regulatory region (5-HTTLPR) and prosocial behavior. We collected self-reported tendencies to avoid certain situations and history of helping others using standard instruments and buccal cells for standard 5-HTTLPR genotyping from 398 undergraduate students. Triallelic 5-HTTLPR genotype was significantly associated with prosocial behavior and the effect was partially mediated by social anxiety, such that those carrying the S′ allele reported higher levels of social avoidance and lower rates of helping others. These results are consistent with accounts of the role of serotonin on anxiety and prosocial behavior and suggest that targeted efforts to reduce social anxiety in S′ allele carriers may enhance prosocial behavior.",
keywords = "Altruism, Avoidance, Behavioral inhibition, SLC6A4, rs25531",
author = "Stoltenberg, {Scott F.} and Christ, {Christa C.} and Gustavo Carlo",
year = "2013",
month = "9",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1080/17470919.2013.807874",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "8",
pages = "400--406",
journal = "Social Neuroscience",
issn = "1747-0919",
publisher = "Psychology Press Ltd",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Afraid to help

T2 - Social anxiety partially mediates the association between 5-HTTLPR triallelic genotype and prosocial behavior

AU - Stoltenberg, Scott F.

AU - Christ, Christa C.

AU - Carlo, Gustavo

PY - 2013/9/1

Y1 - 2013/9/1

N2 - There is growing evidence that the serotonin system influences prosocial behavior. We examined whether anxiety mediated the association between variation in the serotonin transporter gene regulatory region (5-HTTLPR) and prosocial behavior. We collected self-reported tendencies to avoid certain situations and history of helping others using standard instruments and buccal cells for standard 5-HTTLPR genotyping from 398 undergraduate students. Triallelic 5-HTTLPR genotype was significantly associated with prosocial behavior and the effect was partially mediated by social anxiety, such that those carrying the S′ allele reported higher levels of social avoidance and lower rates of helping others. These results are consistent with accounts of the role of serotonin on anxiety and prosocial behavior and suggest that targeted efforts to reduce social anxiety in S′ allele carriers may enhance prosocial behavior.

AB - There is growing evidence that the serotonin system influences prosocial behavior. We examined whether anxiety mediated the association between variation in the serotonin transporter gene regulatory region (5-HTTLPR) and prosocial behavior. We collected self-reported tendencies to avoid certain situations and history of helping others using standard instruments and buccal cells for standard 5-HTTLPR genotyping from 398 undergraduate students. Triallelic 5-HTTLPR genotype was significantly associated with prosocial behavior and the effect was partially mediated by social anxiety, such that those carrying the S′ allele reported higher levels of social avoidance and lower rates of helping others. These results are consistent with accounts of the role of serotonin on anxiety and prosocial behavior and suggest that targeted efforts to reduce social anxiety in S′ allele carriers may enhance prosocial behavior.

KW - Altruism

KW - Avoidance

KW - Behavioral inhibition

KW - SLC6A4

KW - rs25531

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84884357497&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84884357497&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/17470919.2013.807874

DO - 10.1080/17470919.2013.807874

M3 - Article

C2 - 23789884

AN - SCOPUS:84884357497

VL - 8

SP - 400

EP - 406

JO - Social Neuroscience

JF - Social Neuroscience

SN - 1747-0919

IS - 5

ER -