Genetic and Environmental Influences on Adolescent Rumination and its Association with Depressive Symptoms

Abstract

Rumination is an important cognitive vulnerability for adolescent and adult depression. However, little is known about the aetiological origins of rumination, as well as its association with depression. Adolescent rumination (self-report) and depressive symptoms (self- and parent-report) were assessed in 674 pairs of same-gender Chinese adolescent twins (11–17 years of age). Females accounted for 53.7 % of the sample. There were significant correlations between self-reported rumination and self-reported depression (r = 0.41), as well as parent-reported adolescent depression (r = 0.22). Genetic influences were significant and modest on all three measures, ranging from 24 % to 42 %. The three measures were also significantly influenced by shared environment, ranging from 20 % to 28 %, and non-shared environmental factors, ranging from 30 % to 56 %. Moreover, the genetic correlations between rumination and depression were significant (within-rater: r g = 0.99; cross-rater: r g = 0.59) and largely accounted for the phenotypic correlations (within-rater: 68 %; cross-rater: 77 %), while non-shared environmental correlations were also significant (within-rater: r e = 0.26; cross-rater: r e = 0.12) and accounted for the remainder of the phenotypic correlations (within-rater: 32 %; cross-rater: 23 %). The shared environmental correlations were non-significant. No significant gender and age differences were found in aetiological models. These findings suggest that rumination may be an endophenotype reflecting genetic risk for depression.

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank Dr. John R.Z. Abela for help with providing and translation of Children’s Response Styles Questionnaire. The passing of John Abela is a tremendous loss in this field. We also thank Dr. Raymond C.K. Chan for help with advise on writing this paper. This study was supported by the Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KSCX2-EW-J-8), Funds for young scholars of Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Science (Y0CX351S01) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31170993). This research was also supported by Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the BeTwiSt of Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. We are grateful to participating twin families and schools.

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Correspondence to Xinying Li.

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Chen, J., Li, X. Genetic and Environmental Influences on Adolescent Rumination and its Association with Depressive Symptoms. J Abnorm Child Psychol 41, 1289–1298 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-013-9757-5

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Keywords

  • Rumination
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Adolescence
  • Twins