The Effect of Optimism, Hope, and Religion on Mood and Anxiety Disorders Over Time in Women with the FMR1 Premutation
The FMR1 premutation is a common genetic condition estimated to occur in 1 of 130-250 females and in 1 in 250-800 males (Hagerman et al., 2009). The FMR1 premutation is caused by a CGG trinucleotide repeat expansion on the FMR1 gene. Though previously thought to pose no risk to the affected individual, recent research has documented several adverse effects of carrying the FMR1 premutation including an increased risk of mood and anxiety disorders (Roberts et al., 2009). However, optimism, hope, and religion have all previously been identified as factors which may protect against the development or maintenance of psychopathology (Arnau et al., 2007; Brissette et al., 2002; Wink et al., 2007). Thus, the current study uses a prospective longitudinal design to examine the possible protective effects of optimism, hope and religion on mood and anxiety disorders over time in women with the FMR1 premutation. Eighty-three females with the FMR1 premutation, who also have a child with Fragile X Syndrome, participated in the study at two time points, three years apart. Major depressive disorder (MDD) and anxiety disorders were assessed at both time points using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV-TR Disorders. Optimism, hope, and religion were assessed using self-report rating scales during the first assessment. In sum, 66.3% of participants had a lifetime history of MDD and/or an anxiety disorder at time two. Results indicate that lifetime history of a mood or anxiety disorder at time one is the strongest predictor of meeting criteria for MDD or an anxiety disorder during the three year interval between assessments. Additionally, increased optimism at time one significantly decreased the risk of meeting criteria for an anxiety disorder between the two assessment points. Increased optimism also approached significance for predicting the decreased likelihood of meeting criteria for MDD during the interval between assessments. Increased hope and religion at time one did not significantly decrease the likelihood of meeting criteria for a mood or anxiety disorder between time points. Implications and future directions are discussed.