The structure of the genetic and environmental influences on mental well-being

  • Keyes C
  • Myers J
  • Kendler K
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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: We sought to investigate the structure of the genetic and environmental influences on 3 measures of mental well-being. METHODS: Analyses focused on the subsample of 349 monozygotic and 321 dizygotic same-sex twin pairs from a nationally representative sample of twins who completed self-report measures of emotional, psychological, and social well-being. RESULTS: The best-fit model contained a common pathway to all 3 measures of well-being, no shared environmental effects, and 1 set of parameters for men and women. Heritability for the latent "mental well-being" factor was high (72%) and best indexed by psychological well-being. Moderate trait-specific genetic effects were seen for emotional and social well-being. Nonshared environmental effects for all measures were mostly trait specific. CONCLUSIONS: Genetic influences on the measures of mental well-being reflect a single, highly heritable genetic factor, although some trait-specific genetic influences were seen for emotional and social well-being. Moderate proportions of environmental influences were also shared, but the majority of unique environment was trait-specific.

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Authors

  • C L Keyes

  • J M Myers

  • K S Kendler

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