Individuals use coping behaviors to deal with unpleasant daily events. Such behaviors can moderate or mediate the pathway between psychosocial stress and health-related outcomes. However, few studies have examined the associations between coping behaviors and genetic variants. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on coping behaviors in 14088 participants aged 35 to 69 years as part of the Japan Multi-Institutional Collaborative Cohort Study. Five coping behaviors (emotional expression, emotional support seeking, positive reappraisal, problem solving and disengagement) were measured and analyzed. A GWAS analysis was performed using a mixed linear model adjusted for study area, age and sex. Variants with suggestive significance in the discovery phase (N = 6403) were further examined in the replication phase (N = 7685). We then combined variant-level association evidence into gene-level evidence using a gene-based analysis. The results showed a significant genetic contribution to emotional expression and disengagement, with an estimation that the 19.5% and 6.6% variance in the liability-scale was explained by common variants. In the discovery phase, 12 variants met suggestive significance (P < 1 × 10 −6 ) for association with the coping behaviors and perceived stress. However, none of these associations were confirmed in the replication stage. In gene-based analysis, FBXO45, a gene with regulatory roles in synapse maturation, was significantly associated with emotional expression after multiple corrections (P < 3.1 × 10 −6 ). In conclusion, our results showed the existence of up to 20% genetic contribution to coping behaviors. Moreover, our gene-based analysis using GWAS data suggests that genetic variations in FBXO45 are associated with emotional expression.
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