Twin Research

Articles

GENESiS: creating a composite index of the vulnerability to anxiety and depression in a community-based sample of siblings

PC Shama1 c1, A Sternea2, S Purcella3, S Chernya4, M Webstera5, F Rijsdijka6, P Ashersona7, D Balla8, I Craiga9, T Eleya10, D Goldberga11, J Graya12, A Manna13, M Owena14 and R Plomina15

a1 Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, London, UK. P.Sham@iop.kcl.ac.uk

a2 Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, London, UK.

a3 Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, London, UK.

a4 Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, London, UK; Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA.

a5 Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, London, UK.

a6 Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, London, UK.

a7 Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, London, UK.

a8 Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, London, UK.

a9 Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, London, UK.

a10 Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, London, UK.

a11 Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, London, UK.

a12 Institute of Psychiatry, de Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London.

a13 Institute of Psychiatry, de Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London.

a14 University of Wales College of Medicine, Heath Park, Cardiff, UK.

a15 Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, London, UK.

Abstract

There is considerable evidence for a unitary and dimensional view of the genetic vulnerability to symptoms of anxiety and depression. The GENESiS (Genetic Environmental–Nature of Emotional States in Siblings) Study aims to use a multivariate approach to detect genetic loci that contribute to individual differences in this vulnerability dimension. The study used the UK General Practice Research Framework to generate a community-based sample of siblings. Questionnaire measures of anxiety/depression included the short form of the neuroticism scale from the revised Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ-N), the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), and the anxious arousal and high positive affect subscales from the Mood and Anxiety Symptoms Questionnaire (MASQ-AA and MASQ-HPA). Genetic model-fitting of 2658 unselected sibships provided evidence for a single common genetic (familial) factor that accounted for a substantial proportion of the genetic variances and covariances of these four measures. Using the parameter estimates of this model, we constructed a composite index of this common genetic factor. This index, which has a sib correlation of 0.22, will be used as a quantitative phenotype in the molecular genetic phase of GENESiS. Twin Research (2000) 3, 316–322.

(Received September 07 2000)

(Revised September 29 2000)

(Accepted October 03 2000)

Keywords

  • depression;
  • anxiety;
  • neuroticism;
  • sibships;
  • genetics;
  • vulnerability

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence: Dr PC Sham, SGDP Research Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, London, SE5 8AF UK. Tel: 020 7848 0892; Fax: 020 7848 0866

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