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Structure of genetic and environmental risk factors for dimensional representations of DSM–IV anxiety disorders

  • Kristian Tambs (a1), Nikolai Czajkowsky (a2), Espen R⊘ysamb (a3), Michael C. Neale (a4), Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud (a5), Steven H. Aggen (a4), Jennifer R. Harris (a6), Ragnhild E. ⊘rstavik (a7) and Kenneth S. Kendler (a4)...

Abstract

Background

Twin data permit decomposition of comorbidity into genetically and environmentally derived correlations. No previous twin study includes all major forms of anxiety disorder.

Aims

To estimate the degree to which genetic and environmental risk factors are shared rather than unique to dimensionally scored panic disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, phobias, obsessive–compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Method

Data obtained from 2801 young-adult Norwegian twins by means of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview were analysed with the Mx program.

Results

A multivariate common factor model fitted best. The latent liability to all anxiety disorders was substantially more heritable (54%) than the individual disorders (23% to 40%). Most of the genetic effect was common to the disorders. Genes contributed just over 50% to the covariance between liabilities.

Conclusions

The five anxiety disorders all share genetic and environmental risk factors. This has implications for the revision of the anxiety disorder section in DSM–V.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Kristian Tambs, Department of Mental Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Box 4404 Nydalen, 0403 Oslo 3, Norway. Email: kristian.tambs@fhi.no

Footnotes

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This study was supported by NIH grants MH-068643 (principal investigator K.S.K.) and MH-65322 (principal investigator M.C.N.). The twin programme of research at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health is supported by grants from the Norwegian Research Council, the Norwegian Foundation for Health and Rehabilitation, the Foundation of Borderline Research, and the European Commission under the programme Quality of Life and Management of the Living Resources of the Fifth Framework Programme (number QLG2-CT-2002-01254). Genotyping of the twins was performed at the Starr Genotyping Resource Centre at Rockefeller University.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Structure of genetic and environmental risk factors for dimensional representations of DSM–IV anxiety disorders

  • Kristian Tambs (a1), Nikolai Czajkowsky (a2), Espen R⊘ysamb (a3), Michael C. Neale (a4), Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud (a5), Steven H. Aggen (a4), Jennifer R. Harris (a6), Ragnhild E. ⊘rstavik (a7) and Kenneth S. Kendler (a4)...

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Structure of genetic and environmental risk factors for dimensional representations of DSM–IV anxiety disorders

  • Kristian Tambs (a1), Nikolai Czajkowsky (a2), Espen R⊘ysamb (a3), Michael C. Neale (a4), Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud (a5), Steven H. Aggen (a4), Jennifer R. Harris (a6), Ragnhild E. ⊘rstavik (a7) and Kenneth S. Kendler (a4)...
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