Genetic moderation of environmental risk for depression and anxiety in adolescent girls

Department of Human Genetics, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia 23298-0030, USA.
The British Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 7.99). 09/2001; 179(2):116-21. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.179.2.116
Source: PubMed


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.

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    • "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). "
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    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
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    • "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. "
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    • "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. "
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