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

ABSTRACT 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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    • "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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    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.
    Behavior Genetics 03/2012; 42(2):234-44. DOI:10.1007/s10519-011-9510-1 · 3.21 Impact Factor
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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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    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.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 02/2012; 40(6):871-83. DOI:10.1007/s10802-012-9613-z · 3.09 Impact Factor
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    • "Kercher et al. (2009) showed, using path analysis, that not only did depressive symptoms predict later dependent life events but also dependent life events mediated the effects of neuroticism on later depressive symptoms. Other studies (Kendler et al. 1999 ; Silberg et al. 2001) showed that independent life events predicted future onset of major depression. Thus, previous studies have tried to disentangle the direction of effects and found evidence for bidirectional associations. "
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    ABSTRACT: Negative life events are strongly associated with the development of depression. However, the etiologic relationship between life events and depression is complex. Evidence suggests that life events can cause depression, and depression increases the risk for life events. Additionally, third factors influencing both phenotypes may be involved. In this work we sought to disentangle these relationships using a genetically informative longitudinal design. Adult female twins (n=536, including 281 twin pairs) were followed up for measurements of negative life event exposure and depressive symptoms. Four follow-ups were completed, each approximately 3 months apart. Model fitting was carried out using the Mx program. The best-fitting model included causal paths from life events to depressive symptoms for genetic and shared environmental risk factors, whereas paths from depressive symptoms to life events were apparent for shared environmental factors. Shared latent influence on both phenotypes was found for individual-specific effects. Life events and depressive symptoms have complex inter-relationships that differ across sources of variance. The results of the model, if replicated, indicate that reducing life event exposure would reduce depressive symptoms and that lowering depressive symptoms would decrease the occurrence of negative life events.
    Psychological Medicine 01/2012; 42(9):1801-14. DOI:10.1017/S003329171100300X · 5.94 Impact Factor
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