A new study has found that genetics plays a bigger role in depression for women than it does for men. Researchers reviewed "twin studies" of depression - studies that compared identical twins raised apart. This is the best way to evaluate whether a disorder is caused primarily by genes or environmental factors.
- The studies, when analyzed together, found that genetic factors accounted for 42% of depressions in women.
- Genetic factors accounted for 29% of depressions in men.
- All of the studies included were methodologically sound and included "blind" personal interviews.
Most mental health disorders are influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Genetic factors have been found to play a role in the development of depression for both men and women. This new study suggests that genetic factors may play a larger role for women than for men.
Reference: Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., Margaret Gatz, Ph.D., Charles O. Gardner, Ph.D., and Nancy L. Pedersen, Ph.D. Swedish National Twin Study of Lifetime Major Depression. American Journal of Psychiatry, January 2006, vol. 163, #1.