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Different genetic factors influence specific symptom dimensions of DSM-IV major depression

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Question: To what extent are genetic and environmental risk factors shared between the nine symptomatic criteria of diagnostic and classficiation of mental diseases (DSM)-IV major depression?

People: There were 7500 adult twins (3084 twin pairs) of white ethnicity. The study included 503 identical female–female (FF) twin pairs; 346 non-identical FF twin pairs; 703 identical male–male (MM) twin pairs; 485 non-identical MM twin pairs; 1047 male–female (MF) twin pairs; and 1325 twins without their cotwin. FF twins born between 1934 and 1974 were identified using the Virginia Twin Registry, and had responded to an initial questionnaire between 1987 and 1988. MM and male-female (MF) twins born between 1940 and 1974 were sampled from the registry records and completed initial telephone interviews in 1993–1996.

Setting: Virginia Twin Registry, USA.

Risk factors: Genetic and environmental influences (shared and unique). Zygosity was assessed using discriminate function analyses based on standard twin questionnaires with validation of DNA genotype in 496 twin pairs. Multivariate twin models were used to identify which factors (additive genetic, shared and unique environment) …

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  • Sources of funding National Institutes of Health.


  • Competing interests None.