Behavior Genetics

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 592–602 | Cite as

A Longitudinal, Genetically Informative, Study of Associations Between Anxiety Sensitivity, Anxiety and Depression

  • Helena M. S. Zavos
  • Frühling V. Rijsdijk
  • Thalia C. Eley
Original Research


The current study sought to examine the direction of influences on longitudinal associations between anxiety sensitivity, anxiety and depression. The continuity of genetic and environmental influences on these traits over adolescence was also investigated. Self reports of anxiety sensitivity, anxiety and depression were collected from approximately 1,300 twin and sibling pairs, on two occasions (mean ages 15 and 17). The direction and etiology of the associations between these traits were examined using longitudinal genetic cross-lagged models. All traits were stable over time and this stability accounted for the largest proportion of variance at time 2. There was, however, also evidence of reciprocal associations between variables over time. Genetic effects were fairly stable across time, although new genetic influences were evident at the second time point. Environmental effects tended to be more time specific. This study adds to our understanding of the direction of effects between anxiety sensitivity, anxiety and depression in adolescence, and the risks underlying their associations.


Anxiety Depression Cognitive biases Twin studies 



The G1219 study was supported by the W T Grant Foundation, the University of London Central Research fund and a Medical Research Council Training Fellowship and Career Development Award to Thalia Eley. Wave 4 of the G1219 study was supported by a research grant from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (RES-000-22-2206) and a grant from the Institute of Social Psychiatry to Alice Gregory. Helena Zavos is supported by a Medical Research Council doctoral studentship. The authors declare no conflicts of interests. We thank the families for their participation as well as numerous staff and students from the Social Genetic Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, London and Goldsmiths, University of London.

Supplementary material

10519_2012_9535_MOESM1_ESM.doc (228 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 228 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helena M. S. Zavos
    • 1
  • Frühling V. Rijsdijk
    • 1
  • Thalia C. Eley
    • 1
  1. 1.King’s College London, MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of PsychiatryLondonUK

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