Genes, brain, and behavior vol:8 issue:1 pages:5-12
It has been suggested that genes impact on the degree to which minor daily stressors cause variation in the intensity of subtle paranoid experiences. The objective of the present study was to test the hypothesis that catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val(158)Met and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val(66)Met in part mediate genetic effects on paranoid reactivity to minor stressors. In a general population sample of 579 young adult female twins, on the one hand, appraisals of (1) event-related stress and (2) social stress and, on the other hand, feelings of paranoia in the flow of daily life were assessed using momentary assessment technology for five consecutive days. Multilevel regression analyses were used to examine moderation of daily life stress-induced paranoia by COMT Val(158)Met and BDNF Val(66)Met genotypes. Catechol-O-methyltransferase Val carriers displayed more feelings of paranoia in response to event stress compared with Met carriers. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor Met carriers showed more social-stress-induced paranoia than individuals with the Val/Val genotype. Thus, paranoia in the flow of daily life may be the result of gene-environment interactions that can be traced to different types of stress being moderated by different types of genetic variation.