Twin Pair Resemblance for Psychiatric Hospitalization in the Swedish Twin Registry: A 32-year Follow-up Study of 29,602 Twin Pairs
Allgulander et al. (Allgulander C, Nowak J, Rice JP (1991) Acta Psychiatr Scand 83, 12) published twin pair analyses of psychiatric hospitalization for like-sex pairs from the Swedish Twin Registry born 1926–1958. As noted in a subsequent letter (Allgulander C, Nowak J, Rice JP (1992) Acta Psychiatr Scand 86, 421), several features of the original study resulted in under-ascertainment of cases and underestimated heritability, particularly for alcoholism. The present report updates the prior results by using 17 additional years of follow-up, including members of opposite-sex twin pairs, and addressing biases arising from cohort effects and from excluding pairs with unknown zygosity.
Registry records for 29,602 twin pairs born 1926–1958 were matched against national databases of psychiatric and medical hospitalizations from 1972–2000 to obtain ICD diagnostic codes. Zygosity was known for 10,903 opposite-sex pairs and 15,401 like-sex pairs who participated previously in research. Twin-pair resemblance and genetic and environmental variance proportions were estimated for hospitalization for alcoholism, affective disorders, psychosis, and (in females) anxiety disorders.
Hospitalization rates during the ascertainment window were: alcoholism: males = 3.67%, females = 0.94%; affective disorders: males = 1.99%, females = 2.75%; anxiety disorders: males = 0.46%, females = 0.74%; and psychotic disorders: males = 1.70%, females = 1.96%. Twins from like-sex pairs with unknown zygosity had significantly higher prevalences than those with known zygosity. Tetrachoric correlations and heritability estimates were affected by the method used to model unknown zygosity and cohort effects.
Inclusion of additional follow-up information, opposite-sex twin pairs, age-adjustment, and use of current ICD definitions yielded higher heritability estimates for alcoholism, anxiety disorders, and psychosis than previously published for this nationally-representative sample of twins from Sweden. The results show that relatively small selection biases can alter twin study results and underscore the importance of addressing under-ascertainment of cases in genetic research based on volunteers.
KeywordsAlcoholism Depression Psychosis Anxiety Ascertainment
- Eley TC, Collier D, McGuffin P (2002) Anxiety and eating disorders. In: McGuffin P, Owen MJ, Gottesman II (eds) Psychiatric genetics and genomics. Oxford University Press, London, pp 303–340Google Scholar
- Falconer DS (1965) The inheritance of liability to certain diseases, estimated from the incidence among relatives. Ann Hum Genet 29:51–76Google Scholar
- Jones I, Kent L, Craddock N (2002) Genetic of affective disorders. In: McGuffin P, Owen MJ, Gottesman II (eds) Psychiatric genetics and genomics. Oxford University Press, London, pp 211–245Google Scholar
- Kaij L (1960) Alcoholism in twins. Almqvist and Wiksell, StockholmGoogle Scholar
- Kendler KS, Holm NV (1985) Differential enrollment in twin registries: its effect on prevalence and concordance rates and estimates of genetic parameters. Acta Genetica Medica et Gemellologia 34:125–140Google Scholar
- Medlund P, Cederlof R, Floderus-Myrhed B, Friberg L, Sorensen SA (1976) A new Swedish twin registry containing environmental and medical base line data from about 14,000 same-sexed pairs born 1926–58. Acta Med Scand Suppl. 600, 1–111Google Scholar
- Merikangas KR, Mehta RL, Molnar BE, Walters EE, Swendsen JD, Aguilar-Gaziola S, Bijl R, Borges G, Caraveo-Anduaga JJ, DeWit DJ, Kolody B, Vega WA, Wittchen H-U, Kessler RC (1998) Comorbidity of substance use disorders with mood and anxiety disorders: results of the international consortium in psychiatric epidemiology. Addict Behav 23:893–907PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Muthen LK, Muthen BO (2003) Mplus user’s guide. Version 3.0. Muthen & Muthen., Los Angeles, CAGoogle Scholar
- Owen MJ, O’Donovan MC, Gottesman II (2002) Schizophrenia. In: McGuffin P, Owen MJ, Gottesman II (eds) Psychiatric genetics and genomics. Oxford University Press, London, pp 247–266Google Scholar
- Prescott CA (2003) Alcoholism and drug addiction. Encyclopedia of the human genome. Nature Publishing Group, London. (http://www.ehgonline.net)
- World Health Organization (1960) International classification of diseases––seventh revision. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
- World Health Organization (1968) International classification of diseases, eighth revision. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
- World Health Organization (1978) International classification of diseases, ninth revision. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar