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The relationship between psychosocial stress and 5-HTTLPR: Implications for the workplace

Current research on the relationship between the genetic marker 5-HTTLPR and psychosocial stress, shows a large amount of variation in the reported results between studies. In this thesis four meta-analyses using 14 independent samples were conducted to provide a consensus for these previous results and to provide a basis for how these varying results could be applied to the workplace. All four meta-analyses used hedges g as the effect size and reported very small, negative effect sizes. Although the effect sizes were small, the negative direction indicates that the L/L 5-HTTLPR genotype has slightly greater cortisol reactivity to psychosocial stress. The limited amount of literature on 5-HTTLPR and psychosocial stress needs to be considered when reviewing the results as it is difficult to tell whether the small effect sizes are due to chance or if they are an accurate reflection. The small effect sizes also mean that utilising these results in an organisational context is difficult as the relationship between 5-HTTLPR and psychosocial stress is not statistically significant. 5-HTTLPR is only one genetic marker out of hundreds so while psychosocial stress may have a statistically significant relationship with another marker, this has not been found yet. As a result of this, subjective measures of stress such as surveys are likely to continue to be more useful in identifying the stress levels of individuals in the workplace, rather than making inferences based on the 5-HTTLPR genotype of the individual.
Type of thesis
Drayton, S. J. (2018). The relationship between psychosocial stress and 5-HTTLPR: Implications for the workplace (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12125
The University of Waikato
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