Phenylthiocarbamide tasting and family history of depression, revisited: Low rates of depression in families of supertasters

Thomas E. Joiner, Marisol Perez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Past studies suggest that phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) taste status is related to vulnerability to depression, such that those sensitive to PTC are more vulnerable. We questioned this, reasoning that those insensitive to PTC may be more vulnerable (because they may have lower hedonic tone and higher risk for alcohol abuse). Forty-two volunteers responded to questionnaires regarding family history of depression, and were assigned to supertaster, taster, or non-taster categories based on taste reactions to a 3.80×1.43 cm piece of commercially prepared paper treated with PTC. Supertasters were significantly less likely to report first-degree relatives with a history of depression than were tasters and non-tasters. Supertasters may be afforded some protection from depression; elucidating the mechanisms of this protection is a potentially interesting avenue for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-87
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume126
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2004
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Family history of depression
  • Phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) tasting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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