Accounting for depressive symptoms in women: A twin study of associations with interpersonal relationships

Erica L. Spotts, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, Jody Ganiban, David Reiss, Paul Lichtenstein, Kjell Hansson, Marianne Cederblad, Nancy L. Pedersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: This study examined how interpersonal relationships, specifically marital quality and adequacy of social support, are associated with depressive symptoms among women. Methods: A sample of 326 female monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs and their spouses was drawn from the Swedish Twin Registry. Associations among the three variables were evaluated by comparing similarities among monozygotic and dizygotic female twin pairs. Results: Interpersonal relationships contributed between 18% and 31% of the variance for depressive symptoms in women. Associations among the three variables were accounted for by genetic influences when women's reports were used. Non-shared environmental influences were important for the association between marital quality and depressive symptoms when a combination of husband and wife reports of marital quality were used. Limitations: The data is cross-sectional and the generalizability of these findings to depressive symptoms in men or to individuals with major depression is not clear. Conclusions: These findings indicate important associations among marital quality, social support and depressive symptoms in women, which should be taken into consideration for prevention and intervention strategies targeting depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-111
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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