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Br J Psychiatry. 2009 Dec;195(6):504-9. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.109.063529.

Genetic and environmental contributions to depression in Sri Lanka.

Author information

1
MRC Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK. harriet.ball@kcl.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Susceptibility to depression results from genetic and non-familially shared environmental influences in high-income, Western countries. Environments may play a different role for populations in different contexts.

AIMS:

To examine heritability of depression in the first large, population-based twin study in a low-income country.

METHOD:

Lifetime depression and a broader measure of depression susceptibility (D-probe) were assessed in 3908 adult twins in Sri Lanka (the CoTASS study).

RESULTS:

There were gender differences for the broad definition (D-probe), with a higher genetic contribution in females (61%) than males (4%). Results were similar for depression, but the prevalence was too low to estimate heritability for males.

CONCLUSIONS:

Genetic influences on depression in women appear to be at least as strong in this Sri Lankan sample as in higher-income countries. Conclusions are less clear for men but suggest a larger role for environments rather than genes. The nature as well as the magnitude of environmental influences may also differ across populations.

PMID:
19949199
PMCID:
PMC2802529
DOI:
10.1192/bjp.bp.109.063529
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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