Many different factors contribute to the presence of anxiety and stress in athletes. This study describes a fascinating interaction between biology, psychology and environment. The researchers recruited 133 athletes and examined not only serotonin transporter gene (5HTT) polymorphisms but also measures of emotional arousal, personality traits (including neuroticism), and mood states. Their conclusion is that ‘a significant interaction’ exists between polymorphism, neuroticism and sporting stresses and that this predicts mental health problems in athletes.
Petito, A., Altamura, M., Iuso, S., Padalino, F. A., Sessa, F., D’Andrea, G., … Bellomo, A. (2016). The relationship between personality traits, the 5HTT polymorphisms, and the occurrence of anxiety and depressive symptoms in elite athletes. PLoS ONE, 11(6), 1–13. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0156601