Many studies that found associations between depression and nicotine dependence have ignored possible shared genetic influences associated with antisocial traits. The present study examined the contribution of genetic and environmental effects associated with conduct disorder (CD) and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) to the comorbidity of major depression (MD) and nicotine dependence (ND). A telephone diagnostic interview, the Diagnostic Interview Schedule-III-R, was administered to eligible twins from the Vietnam Era Twin (VET) Registry in 1992. Multivariate genetic models were fitted to 3360 middle-aged and predominantly white twin pairs (1868 monozygotic, 1492 dizygotic pairs) of which both members completed the pertinent diagnostic interview sections. Genetic influences on CD accounted for 100%, 68%, and 50% of the total genetic variance in risk for ASPD, MD and ND, respectively. After controlling for genetic influences on CD, the partial genetic correlation between MD and ND was no longer statistically significant. Nonshared environmental contributions to the comorbidity among these disorders were not significant. This study not only demonstrates that the comorbidity between ND and MD is influenced by common genetic risk factors, but also further suggests that the common genetic risk factors overlapped with those for antisocial traits such as CD and ASPD in men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-478
Number of pages9
JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007


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