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Aetiology of emotional symptoms in children and adolescents: Depression and anxiety in twins

Eley, Thalia; (1996) Aetiology of emotional symptoms in children and adolescents: Depression and anxiety in twins. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAIC) were completed by 395 twin pairs aged 8 to 16 years. Eighty-nine pairs of these twins and their mothers were then visited and interviewed to ascertain whether there had been any major life events or ongoing experiences in the preceding twelve months. These events and experiences were rated for various aspects of impact on the child. As the CDI and the STAIC are highly correlated the first stage of the analysis was a second order factor analysis of the items on the two questionnaires which resulted in two relatively independent factors of depression and anxiety (r = .27). The second stage of the analysis was the genetic analyses of scores on these two factors. Within-pair similarity for depression scores was found to be due to genetic factors (a2 = .54), whereas for within-pair similarity on anxiety symptoms the common environment was the significant parameter (c2 = .44). Extremes analyses found that the same factors appeared to contribute to extreme scores of depression (h2g = .46) and anxiety (c2g = .40) as those responsible for individual differences. Multivariate model-fitting revealed that the covariation between depression and anxiety was entirely accounted for by a shared genetic factor (rg = 1.0). The second section considered the relationship between the life events and experiences data and the depression and anxiety scores. Loss events were found to be associated with depression and danger events with anxiety. Negative experiences were found to be significantly associated with both depression and anxiety. Experiences characterised by schoolwork problems and friendship problems were significantly related to depression. These results imply that while the genetic factors for depression and anxiety in children and adolescents are largely shared, the environmental influences are specific, resulting in the particular manifestation of the symptomatology.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Aetiology of emotional symptoms in children and adolescents: Depression and anxiety in twins
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098965
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