A population-based twin study of generalized anxiety disorder in men and women.
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This study aimed to a) assess whether genetic or environmental effects are of similar magnitude in the etiology of GAD in men and women, and b) investigate whether familial (genetic or common environmental) risk factors are the same in men and women, or whether there are gender-specific effects. We obtained a lifetime history of DSM-IIII-R GAD, via face-to-face and telephone interviews, from 3100 complete male-male, female-female, and male-female twin pairs, ascertained through a population-based registry. Biometrical twin modeling was utilized to estimate the relative contributions of genetic and environmental factors to liability for GAD, allowing for gender-specific effects. The familial aggregation of GAD in this sample was only modest. In the best-fitting models, the heritability of GAD was the same in men and women, estimated at about 15% to 20%, with no effects of gender-specific genes detected.