Genetic influences on the cognitive biases associated with anxiety and depression symptoms in adolescents

Zavos, Helena M. S.; Rijsdijk, Frühling V.; Gregory, Alice M. and Eley, Thalia C.. 2010. Genetic influences on the cognitive biases associated with anxiety and depression symptoms in adolescents. Journal of Affective Disorders, 124(1-2), pp. 45-53. ISSN 0165-0327 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Background

There is a substantial overlap between genes affecting anxiety and depression. Both anxiety and depression are associated with cognitive biases such as anxiety sensitivity and attributional style. Little, however, is known about the relationship between these variables and whether these too are genetically correlated.
Methods

Self-reports of anxiety sensitivity, anxiety symptoms, attributional style and depression symptoms were obtained for over 1300 adolescent twin and sibling pairs at two time points. The magnitude of genetic and environmental influences on the measures was examined.
Results

Strongest associations were found between anxiety sensitivity and anxiety ratings at both measurement times (r = .70, .72) and between anxiety and depression (r = .62 at both time points). Correlations between the cognitive biases were modest at time 1 (r = − .12) and slightly larger at time 2 (r = − .31). All measures showed moderate genetic influence. Generally genetic correlations reflected phenotypic correlations. Thus the highest genetic correlations were between anxiety sensitivity and anxiety ratings (.86, .87) and between anxiety and depression ratings (.77, .71). Interestingly, depression ratings also showed a high genetic correlation with anxiety sensitivity (.70, .76). Genetic correlations between the cognitive bias measures were moderate (− .31, − .46).
Limitations

The sample consists primarily of twins, there are limitations associated with the twin design.
Conclusions

Cognitive biases associated with depression and anxiety are not as genetically correlated as anxiety and depression ratings themselves. Further research into the cognitive processes related to anxiety and depression will facilitate understanding of the relationship between bias and symptoms.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2009.10.030

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology

Dates:

DateEvent
2010Published

Item ID:

5196

Date Deposited:

15 Mar 2011 14:53

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:45

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/5196

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