Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Women: A Population-Based Twin Study

Kenneth S. Kendler, Michael C. Neale, Ronald C. Kessler, Andrew C. Heath, Lindon J. Eaves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

212 Scopus citations

Abstract

Little is known about the role of familial and genetic factors in the etiology of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), a new disorder first proposed in DSM-III. We examine this question in 1033 female-female twin pairs from a population-based registry. Both members in each twin pair were “blindly” assessed by structured psychiatric interview. Our results suggest the following: (1) GAD is a moderately familial disorder; (2) the tendency for GAD to run in families seems to be due largely or entirely to genetic factors shared between relatives rather than to the effects of the familial environment; (3) the heritability of GAD, estimated at around 30%, is modest, with the remainder of the variance in liability resulting from environmental factors not shared by adult twins; (4) the heritability of GAD cannot be explained solely by the occurrence of GAD only during episodes of major depression or panic disorder; and (5) the etiologic role of genetic factors is probably similar in GAD with a 1- vs a 6-month minimum duration of illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-272
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of General Psychiatry
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1992

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