The effects on twin data of social interaction between spouses is examined. When social interaction leads to an increase in marital resemblance (eg through reciprocal imitation), the variance of married individuals is increased, compared to the variance of unmarried individuals. Furthermore, the expected correlations between concordant married twin pairs will be lower than the expected correlations between concordant unmarried twin pairs, with the discordant twin correlations being intermediate in value. It is therefore possible, in principle, to detect the effects of marital interaction without using either longitudinal data or data on spouse pairs. However, to be detectable in twin data, marital interaction must be strong, or must exhibit marked asymmetry of effects between males and females. Genotype x environment interaction can also produce heterogeneity of correlation between concordant married, discordant, and concordant unmarried twin pairs, when genetic and environmental effects interact with marital status. However, this will usually produce increased estimates of the genetic component of variance in unmarried twins, whereas marital interaction produces increased genetic variance in married twins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalActa geneticae medicae et gemellologiae
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987


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