Psychological Medicine

Research Article

Genetic and environmental influences on obsessional traits and symptoms

C. A. Clifforda1, R. M. Murraya1 c1 and D. W. Fulkera1

a1 Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, London


A biometrical genetic analysis was carried out on the response of 419 pairs of twins to the 42-item version of the Leyton Obsessional Inventory. Just under half the variation in both the Obsessional Trait and Symptom Scales was due to heredity. Multivariate analysis revealed a genetic effect on the development of obsessional personality and also the transmission of a general tendency predisposing to neurotic breakdown. Although the influence of heredity was outweighed by that of the environment, the latter effect showed an absence of general factors and, in particular, of any noticeable effect from the common home environment.


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr R. M. Murray, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SES 8AF.