There is huge individual variation in people's response to negative life events.
To test the hypothesis that genetic factors moderate susceptibility to the environmentally mediated risks associated with negative life events.
The Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioral Development (VTSABD) was used to study the effects of independent life events (assessed from maternal interview) on depression/anxiety (assessed from child interview) in 184 same-gender female twin pairs, aged 14--7 years, measured on two occasions.
There was no genetic effect on the independent negative life events studied. A significant gene-environment interaction was found using structural equation modelling. There was no effect of independent life events on adolescents' depression in the absence of parental emotional disorder, but a significant effect in its presence.
There is an environmentally mediated effect of life events on depression/anxiety. Genetic factors play a significant role in individual differences in susceptibility to these environmentally mediated risks.
"Data on twins and extended kin have shown that the relative proportion of genetic and environmental influences may change depending on contextual factors. For instance, a higher number of negative life events have been associated with higher heritability estimates for depression and anxiety among adolescent girls (Silberg et al., 2001), supporting the diathesis-stress model. Another study revealed the opposite: A decrease in genetic risk for depressive symptoms was observed along with increases in the levels of negative life events and maternal punitive behavior (Lau & Eley, 2008). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to further understand why depressive symptoms are associated with negative goal appraisals, the present study examined the genetic and environmental correlations and interactions between depressive symptoms and career-related goal appraisals. A total of 1,240 Finnish twins aged 21-26 years completed a questionnaire containing items on the appraisal of their career goals along five dimensions: importance, progress, effort, strain, and self-efficacy. In the same questionnaire, the 10-item General Behavior Inventory assessed depressive symptoms. Structural equation modeling was used to evaluate the genetic and environmental correlations and gene-environment interactions between the career-goal appraisals and depressive symptoms. Associations were identified, and were attributed to environmental factors. Of the career-related goal appraisals, the shared environmental component was of a higher magnitude for the dimension of strain among the depressed compared with non-depressed subjects. The results indicate that the interplay between depressive symptoms and negative career-related goal appraisals is significantly affected by environmental factors, and thus possibly susceptible to targeted interventions.
Twin Research and Human Genetics 06/2014; 17(4):1-8. DOI:10.1017/thg.2014.33 · 2.30 Impact Factor
"Specifically, it is possible that genetic factors on sleep quality influence exposure to negative life events either directly or via intermediate variables. For example, sleep disturbances are associated with internalizing disorders such as anxiety and depression (Ford and Kamerow 1989)—both of which are associated with the experience of negative life events (e.g., Silberg et al. 2001). Research from our own team suggests that there is substantial overlap in the genes influencing sleep, anxiety and depression (Gregory et al. 2011), and so it is possible that genes influencing sleep are shared with those influencing anxiety and depression which further influence exposure to negative life events. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Research has consistently demonstrated that environmental influences are important for explaining the variability in sleep quality observed in the general population. Although there is substantial evidence assessing associations between sleep quality and a host of environmental variables, it is possible that their effects are mediated by genetic influence. A monozygotic twin differences design was used to assess the specific contribution of nonshared environmental influences on sleep quality, whilst controlling for genetic and shared environmental effects in a sample of 380 monozygotic twins (mean age 19.8 years, SD = 1.26, range = 18-22 years). Participants completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and questionnaires assessing several candidate "environmental" measures. When controlling for genetic and shared environmental effects, within monozygotic twin-pair differences in sleep quality were associated with within monozygotic twin-pair differences in general health for males (β = 1.56, p < 0.001) and relationship satisfaction for females (β = 1.01, p < 0.05). For the remaining environmental measures the results suggest that these seemingly "environmental" influences are actually in part dependent on genetics and/or the shared environment. These findings give insight into how specific environments affect sleep and the possible mechanisms behind these associations.
"We investigated whether the relation between perceived attachment relationship quality with fathers and mothers and GAD symptoms differed for boys and girls. We expected that this relation would be stronger for girls than boys, because girls have a stronger relational orientation (Rudolph 2002) and a genetic vulnerability to anxiety (Silberg et al. 2001). However , no differences were found in the cross-lagged paths between perceived attachment relationship quality with both parents and GAD symptoms. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This longitudinal study examined the direction of effects between adolescents' generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) symptoms and perceived parent-adolescent attachment relationship quality, as well as the moderating role of gender and age. 1,313 Dutch adolescents (48.5% boys) from two age cohorts of early (n = 923, M(age) = 12 at W1) and middle (n = 390, M(age) = 16 at W1) adolescents completed questionnaires regarding their attachment relationship to parents and GAD symptoms in four waves. Cross-lagged path analyses demonstrated that adolescents' GAD symptoms and perceived father-adolescent attachment relationship quality bidirectionally negatively affected each other over time. For mothers, adolescents' GAD symptoms negatively predicted perceived mother-adolescent attachment relationship quality over time. The within-wave correlated residuals between perceived attachment relationship quality with fathers and GAD symptoms were stronger for boys than for girls and stronger for the cohort of middle adolescents than for the cohort of early adolescents. This study demonstrates that both the parents' and the adolescents' gender as well as the adolescents' age affects the relation between adolescents' GAD symptoms and perceived parent-adolescent attachment relationship quality.
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