Endophenotypes for Marital Status in the NAS-NRC Twin Registry

  • Susan L. Trumbetta
  • Irving I. Gottesman


This study explored two possible endophenotypes for marital status: 1) the predisposition to form and maintain lasting pair bonds and 2) the predisposition to have multiple mates over the life span. These endophenotypes were constructed using 1972 and 1985 marital status data from a followed-up subsample of the NAS-NRC WWII Veteran Twin Registry. In the 1972 data, consisting of 2297 MZ and 2443 DZ twin pairs, 42% of the variance in pair bonding could be attributed to additive genetic and 58% to nonshared environmental factors and measurement error. Of the variance in multiple mates, 28% could be attributed to additive genetic and 62% to nonshared environment/error factors. In the 1985 data, consisting of 1359 MZ and 1208 DZ twin pairs, 31% of the variance in pair bonding could be attributed to non-additive genetic and 69% to nonshared environment/error factors. Of the variance in multiple mates, 22% could be attributed to additive genetic and 78% to nonshared environment/error factors. Although parameter estimates were marked by wide confidence intervals, no variance in either endophenotype could be attributed to common family environment.

Key words

marital status divorce never marrying pair bonds genetic factors 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Akaike, H. (1987). Factor analysis and AIC. Psychometrika, 52, 317–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bailey, J.M., & Martin, N.G. (1995). An Australian twin study of sexual orientation. Behavior Genetics, 25, 254.Google Scholar
  3. Bailey, J.M., & Pillard, R.C. (1991). A genetic study of male sexual orientation. Archives of General Psychiatry, 48, 1089–1096.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carmelli D., Swan, G.E., & Robinette, D. (1991). Substance use in World War II veteran twins: A genetic analysis. Epidemiology in Military and Veteran Populations. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  5. Dunbar, R. I. M. (1995). The mating system of callitrichid primates: I. Conditions for the coevolution of pair-bonding and twinning. Animal Behaviour, 50, 1057–1070CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Eckert, E.D., Bouchard, T.J., Bohlen, J., & Heston, L.L. (1986). Homosexuality in monozygotic twins reared apart. British Journal of Psychiatry, 148, 421–425.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ehrman, L. (1990). Developmental isolation and subsequent adult behavior of Drosophila pseudoobscura. Behavior Genetics, 20, 609–615PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fabsitz, R.R., Kalousdian S., Carmelli D., Robinette, D., & Christian, J.C. (1988). Characteristics of participants and nonparticipants in the NHBLI twin study. Acta Geneticae Medicae Gemellologiae, 37, 217–228.Google Scholar
  9. Feeney, J.A. (1996). Attachment, caregiving, and marital satisfaction. Personal Relationships, 3, 401–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Finkel D., Wille, D.E., & Matheny, A.P. (1998). Preliminary results from a twin study of infant-caregiver attachment. Behavior Genetics, 28, 1–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gladue, B.A. (1995). The biopsychology of sexual orientation. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 3, 150–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gunter, B.G., & Johnson, D.P. (1978). Divorce filing as role behavior: Effect of no-fault law on divorce filing patterns. Journal of Marriage & the Family, 40, 571–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hamer, D.H., Hu S., Magnuson, V.L., Hu, N., & Pattatucci, A.M.L. (1993). A linkage between DNA markers on the X chromosome and male sexual orientation. Science, 261 321–327PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Heaton, T.B., & Albrecht, S.L. (1991). Stable unhappy marriages. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53, 747–758.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Holtzworth-Munroe A., Stuart, G.L., & Hutchinson, G. (1997). Violent versus nonviolent husbands: Differences in attachment patterns, dependency, and jealousy. Journal of Family Psychology, 11, 314–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hrubec, Z. (1973). The effect of diagnostic ascertainment in twins on the assessment of the genetic factor in disease etiology. American Journal of Human Genetics, 25, 15–28.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Insel, T.R. (1997). A neurobiological basis of social attachment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 154, 726–735.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Insel, T.R., & Winslow, J.T. (1998). Serotonin and neuropeptides in affiliative behaviors. Biological Psychiatry, 44, 207–219.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Insel, T.R., Young, I., & Wang, Z. (1997). Molecular aspects of monogamy. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 807, 302–316.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jablon S., Neel, J.V., Gershowitz, H., & Atkinson, G.F. (1967). The NAS-NRC Twin Panel: Methods of construction of the panel, zygosity diagnosis, and proposed use. American Journal of Human Genetics, 19, 133–161.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Jockin V., McGue, M., & Lykken, D.T. (1996). Personality and divorce: a genetic analysis. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 71, 288–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Joreskog, K.G., & Sorbom, D.(1993a). LISREL 8: User’s Reference Guide. Chicago, Illinois: Scientific Software International, Inc.Google Scholar
  23. Joreskog, K.G., & Sorbom, D. (1993b) PREL1S 2: User’s Reference Guide. Chicago: Scientific Software International, Inc.Google Scholar
  24. Kelly, E.L., & Conley, J.J. (1987). Personality and compatibility: A prospective analysis of marital stability and marital satisfaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 27–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kendler, K.S. (1986). A twin study of mortality in schizophrenia and neurosis. Archives of General Psychiatry, 43, 643–649.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kendler, K.S., & Robinette, C.D. (1983). Schizophrenia in the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council Twin Registry: A 16-year update. American Journal of Psychiatry, 140, 1551–1563.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Kim, Y-K., & Ehrman, L. (1998). Developmental isolation and subsequent adult behavior of Drosophila paulistorum. IV. Courtship. Behavior Genetics, 28, 57–65.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kohler, H-P, Rodgers, J.L., & Christensen, K. (1999). Is fertility behavior in our genes? Findings from a Danish twin study. Population and Development Review, 25, 253–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Komers, P.E. (1996). Obligate monogamy without paternal care in Kirk’s dikdik. Animal Behaviour, 51, 131–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Larsen, T. (1991). Anti-predator behaviour and mating systems in waders: Aggressive nest defence selects for monogamy. Animal Behaviour, 41, 1057–1062.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. LeClere, F.B., Rogers, R.G., Peters, K.D. (1997). Ethnicity and mortality in the United States: Individual and community correlates. Social Forces, 76, 169–198Google Scholar
  32. Levenson, R.W., Castensen, L.L., & Gottman, J.M. (1993). Long-term marriage: Age, gender, and satisfaction. Psychology and Aging, 8, 301–313.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McGue, M., & Lykken, D.T. (1992). Genetic influence on the risk of divorce. Psychological Science, 3, 368–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McGuffin P., Owen M., O’Dono Van M., Thapar, A., & Gottesman, I.I. (1994). Seminars in Psychiatric Genetics. Washington DC: American Psychiatric Press.Google Scholar
  35. Morell, V. (1998). A new look at monogamy. Science, 281, 1982–1983.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Neale, M.C., & Cardon, L.R. (1992). Methodology for Genetic Studies of Twins and Families. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  37. Neale, M.C. Eaves, L.J., & Kendler, K.S. (1994). The power of the classical twin study to resolve variation in threshold traits. Behavior Genetics, 24, 239–258.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Piper, W.H., Evers, D.C., Meyer, M.W., Tischler, K.B., Kaplan, J.D., & fleischer, R.C. (1997). Genetic monogamy in the common loon (Gavia immer). Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology, 41, 25–CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Plomin, R., & Nesselroade, J.R. (1990). Behavioral genetics and personality change. Journal of Personality, 58, 191–220.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Salo, A.L., Shapiro, L.E., & Dewsbury, D.A. (1993). Affiliative behavior in different species of voles (Microtus). Psychological Reports, 72, 316–318.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Spreitzer, E., & Riley, L.E. (1974). Factors associated with singlehood. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 36, 533–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Trovato, F. (1998). Nativity, marital status and mortality in Canada. Canadian Review of Sociology & Anthropology, 35, 65–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Trumbetta, S.L., Gottesman, I.I., Turkheimer, E.N., & Page, W.F. (1999). Genes for marital status? Divorce, never marrying, and psychopathology in the NAS-NRC World War II Veteran Twin Registry. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  44. U.S. Bureau of the Census (1974). Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1974. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  45. U.S. Bureau of the Census (1987). Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1987. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  46. VanSchaik, C.P., & Dunbar, R.I. (1990). The evolution of monogamy in large primates: A new hypothesis and some crucial tests. Behaviour, 115, 30–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Viken R.J. Rose R.J. Kaprio J. & Koskenvuo M. 1994. A developmental genetic analysis of adult personality Extra version and neuroticism from 18 to 59 years of age. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 66 722–730Google Scholar
  48. Young, L.J., Wang. Z., & Insel, T.R. (1998). Neuroendocrine bases of monogamy. Trends in Neurosciences, 21, 71–75.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan L. Trumbetta
  • Irving I. Gottesman

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations