Neuroticism, stress and psychological wellbeing: the role of CRHR1 and HSD11B1 in neuroticism, anxiety and depression
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Personality factors are increasingly being recognised as valuable predictors of psychopathology. Neuroticism has been a focus of epidemiologically-oriented personality research, and has been associated with stress, anxiety and depression. The concurrent relationship between these phenotypes and stress invites exploration of genetic regulation of the neural stress pathway to elucidate aetiological overlap. The present study investigated the association of two genes, CRHR1 and HSD11B1, both involved in regulating cortisol functioning, with neurotic personality traits and measures of psychological wellbeing. Nominal associations were found across the traits with genetic variants, and three SNPs in HSD11B1 significantly predicted pathological anxiety levels in a population sample. These findings highlight a novel association between HSD11B1 and anxiety. Replication of this effect in a larger sample would help further elucidate the specificity of this effect to anxiety disorder.