Backround: Previous studies have demonstrated the contributions of genetic variants and positive psychological traits (e.g. gratitude and forgiveness) to well-being. However, little is known about how genes interact with positive traits to affect well-being.
Methods: To investigate to what extent the COMT Val158Met polymorphism modulates well-being and to what extent dispositional gratitude and forgiveness mediate the individual differences in well-being, 445 participants were recruited and required to complete a battery of questionnaires.
Results: We found that individuals with a smaller number of the Met alleles reported greater well-being, less depressive symptoms, and greater tendencies for gratitude and forgiveness. Moreover, dispositional gratitude and forgiveness mediated the genotype effects on well-being and depressive symptoms. These results remained significant after controlling for non-genetic factors (socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, romantic relationship status, parenting style).
Limitation: The sample size limits the generalizability of results.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates the contribution of the COMT Val158Met polymorphism to individual differences in well-being and suggests a potential psychobiological pathway from dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems to happiness.
Keywords: COMT; Depression; Forgiveness; Gratitude; Well-being.
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