Importance of Shared Genes and Shared Environments for Symptoms of Depression in Older Adults
The Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale was administered to 68 identical and 161 fraternal twin pairs reared apart and 114 identical and 138 fraternal pairs reared together to ascertain relative genetic and environmental contributions to individual differences in self-reported depressive symptoms. Intraclass correlations and model fitting indicated that genetic influences explained 16% of the variance in total depression scores and 19% for the Psychomotor Retardation and Somatic Complaints subscale, but heritability was minimal for the Depressed Mood and Well-Being subscales. Influence of family rearing context played a substantial role in explaining twin similarity, whereas unique life experiences accounted for the greatest proportion of variance. Significant age group differences were observed, with heritability greater in twins of 60 years of age or older than in twins under 60, especially for Psychomotor Retardation.
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