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Model-fitting suggests reciprocal causation and shared influences between depressive symptoms and negative life events

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Question: What is the relationship between negative life events and depressive symptoms over time, using structural equation modelling?

People: In total 536 adult female twins (including 281 twin pairs; mean age 28 years, range 18–46 years). Zygosity was determined through sequential analysis of gender, fetal membranes, blood groups and DNA. For 81 twin pairs, zygosity was determined by self-report and maternal report and degree to which twins were confused for each other, and DNA if necessary.

Setting: Participants of an ongoing general population twin study, details not stated in this paper.

Risk factors: Women were asked to report on the occurrence of 61 events (list based on The Interview for Recent Life Events) during the past 6 months at baseline, and in the intervening period at each follow-up. Women were assessed at baseline in person, and a further four times at 3-month to 4-month intervals using a questionnaire. Life events were classified into 10 categories: family relationships, work, social relationships, education, legal, marriage and cohabitation, bereavement, migration, finance …

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  • Sources of funding: Dutch Organization for Scientific Research; Fund for Scientific Research; Flanders and Twins; Dutch Medical Council.


  • Funding None.

  • Competing interests None.

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