The effect of serotonin transporter gene promoter polymorphism on adolescent and adult ADHD symptoms and educational attainment: a longitudinal study

Eur Psychiatry. 2013 Aug;28(6):372-8. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2012.04.004. Epub 2012 Sep 15.


Introduction: The purpose of this longitudinal study was to investigate the relationship between the 5-HTTLPR genotype, symptoms of ADHD in adolescence and adulthood, and educational attainment in a population representative sample. Neuroticism, depressive symptoms and general mental abilities were controlled for as possible confounding factors.

Methods: ADHD symptoms were reported at age 15 and 18 by teachers using the Hyperactivity Scale of af Klinteberg and SNAP-IV, and self-reported at age 25 using the ASRS. Data about education were reported at age 25.

Results: At age 15, subjects with the l/l genotype had more concentration difficulties compared to s-allele carriers, and they also had more inattention symptoms according to SNAP-IV at age 18. These results were not altered by taking neuroticism or depressive symptoms into account. No 5-HTTLPR genotype effect on self-reported ADHD symptoms at age 25 was found. Inattention symptoms in adolescence were associated with lower education in young adulthood. The proportion of subjects with higher education at age 25 was significantly larger among s/s genotype compared to the l/l or s/l genotype.

Conclusions: The l/l genotype of the 5-HTTLPR is associated with inattentive symptoms during adolescence in the general population, and increases the likelihood of inferior educational level in young adulthood.

Keywords: 5-HTTLPR; ADHD symptoms; Education; Longitudinal study; Neuroticism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / genetics*
  • Attention*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Personality
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics*


  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins