Phenotypic and aetiological architecture of depressive symptoms in a Japanese twin sample

Yusuke Takahashi, Jean Baptiste Pingault, Shinji Yamagata, Jyukou Andou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BackgroundThe phenotypic and aetiological architecture of depression symptomatology has been mostly studied in Western samples. In this study, we conducted a genetically informed factor analysis to elucidate both the phenotypic and aetiological architectures of self-reported depression among a Japanese adult twin sample.MethodsDepressive symptoms assessed by Zung's Self-rating Depression Scale were self-rated by 425 twin pairs (301 monozygotic and 124 dizygotic twin pairs) in a community sample in Japan.ResultsAn exploratory factor analysis extracted three symptom domains representing cognitive, affective and somatic symptomatology. A confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated that a bi-factor solution fitted better than the alternative solutions, implying that depression may be defined as a combination of a single general construct and three factors specific to each of the three symptom domains. A multivariate genetic analysis with the bi-factor solution showed that the general factor was substantially heritable (47%), and that only the affective symptom domain was significantly heritable (29%) among the three specific factors, their remaining variance being explained by non-shared environmental influences.ConclusionsDepression symptomatology appears to be adequately captured by a substantially heritable general factor. The heritability of this factor (47%) in a Japanese adult sample is in line with commonly reported heritability estimates for depression. The three specific factors - cognitive, affective and somatic - are mostly explained by non-shared environmental factors, which include measurement error. The extent to which these specific factors are uniquely associated with correlates of depression when the general factor is accounted for should be investigated in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological Medicine
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1

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Depression
Statistical Factor Analysis
Dizygotic Twins
Affective Symptoms
Japan
Multivariate Analysis

Keywords

  • Behavioural genetics
  • bi-factor model
  • depression
  • heritability
  • twin study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Phenotypic and aetiological architecture of depressive symptoms in a Japanese twin sample. / Takahashi, Yusuke; Pingault, Jean Baptiste; Yamagata, Shinji; Andou, Jyukou.

In: Psychological Medicine, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "BackgroundThe phenotypic and aetiological architecture of depression symptomatology has been mostly studied in Western samples. In this study, we conducted a genetically informed factor analysis to elucidate both the phenotypic and aetiological architectures of self-reported depression among a Japanese adult twin sample.MethodsDepressive symptoms assessed by Zung's Self-rating Depression Scale were self-rated by 425 twin pairs (301 monozygotic and 124 dizygotic twin pairs) in a community sample in Japan.ResultsAn exploratory factor analysis extracted three symptom domains representing cognitive, affective and somatic symptomatology. A confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated that a bi-factor solution fitted better than the alternative solutions, implying that depression may be defined as a combination of a single general construct and three factors specific to each of the three symptom domains. A multivariate genetic analysis with the bi-factor solution showed that the general factor was substantially heritable (47{\%}), and that only the affective symptom domain was significantly heritable (29{\%}) among the three specific factors, their remaining variance being explained by non-shared environmental influences.ConclusionsDepression symptomatology appears to be adequately captured by a substantially heritable general factor. The heritability of this factor (47{\%}) in a Japanese adult sample is in line with commonly reported heritability estimates for depression. The three specific factors - cognitive, affective and somatic - are mostly explained by non-shared environmental factors, which include measurement error. The extent to which these specific factors are uniquely associated with correlates of depression when the general factor is accounted for should be investigated in future studies.",
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