A population-based twin study of generalized anxiety disorder in men and women
ABSTRACT This study aimed to a) assess whether genetic or environmental effects are of similar magnitude in the etiology of GAD in men and women, and b) investigate whether familial (genetic or common environmental) risk factors are the same in men and women, or whether there are gender-specific effects. We obtained a lifetime history of DSM-IIII-R GAD, via face-to-face and telephone interviews, from 3100 complete male-male, female-female, and male-female twin pairs, ascertained through a population-based registry. Biometrical twin modeling was utilized to estimate the relative contributions of genetic and environmental factors to liability for GAD, allowing for gender-specific effects. The familial aggregation of GAD in this sample was only modest. In the best-fitting models, the heritability of GAD was the same in men and women, estimated at about 15% to 20%, with no effects of gender-specific genes detected.
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ABSTRACT: Abstract Excessive worry is associated with a range of psychological disorders. While previous studies have examined genes associated with a range of different anxiety phenotypes, none have explored genes specifically associated with the general tendency to worry. The present study tested associations between trait worry and functional polymorphisms of three candidate genes: the serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) of the SLC6A4 gene, the Val66Met region of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene, and the Val158Met region of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene. A heterogeneous sample of adult participants (n = 173) completed the Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ) and provided DNA samples for genotyping. Results revealed a significant interaction between 5-HTTLPR and BDNF genotypes predicting levels of worry. Specifically, there was a significant positive association between 5-HTTLPR short alleles and PSWQ scores, but only in BDNF met allele carriers. COMT genotype was not significantly associated levels of worry, nor did COMT interact with 5-HTTLPR or BDNF genotypes to predict PSWQ scores. These findings provide preliminary evidence about the putative genetic etiology of worrying. Key limitations of the present study and corresponding directions for future research on this topic are discussed.Anxiety, stress, and coping 03/2014; DOI:10.1080/10615806.2014.909928 · 1.55 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Previous studies have identified the relationship between parental loss and psychopathology later in life. However, this relationship varied depending on the kind of loss, the parent involved, and the type of psychopathology. In the present study, we examined the association between parental loss (any loss, death, and separation) during childhood and lifetime risk for seven common psychiatric and substance use disorders in a sample of 2605 male twins from the Virginia population-based twin registry. Using structural equation modeling (SEM), we also examined the extent to which the influence of parental loss contributes to adult psychopathology. Parental separation was associated with a wide range of adult psychopathology, whereas parental death was specifically associated with phobia and alcohol dependence. Maternal and paternal separations were almost equally associated with most forms of psychopathology. SEM suggested that parental loss accounted for about 10% of the variance of adult psychopathology, of which parental separation had the strongest impacts on risk for depression and drug abuse/dependence (11% of the total variance). Our findings suggest that early parental separation has stronger and wider effects on adult psychopathology than parental death.Psychiatry Research 08/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2014.07.053 · 2.68 Impact Factor
Article: [Generalized anxiety disorder.][Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a prevalent mental condition with substantial impact on psychosocial functioning and quality of life. There is also an increased risk of comorbidity with several other mental and somatic diseases. Clinical symptomatology is characterized by excessive and uncontrollable worrying about distinct issues of daily living which is frequently associated with somatic symptoms of stress and anxiety. Neurobiological and psychological research provide evidence for alterations in (para) limbic areas, a disturbed monoaminergic transmission as well as for dysfunctional learning in the pathogenesis of GAD. Therefore, second generation antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRI), the calcium channel modulator pregabalin and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are the first choice treatment options. Depending on symptom severity, patient preference and availability, both medication and CBT can be applied as monotherapy or in combination.Der Nervenarzt 08/2014; 85(9). DOI:10.1007/s00115-014-4121-8 · 0.86 Impact Factor