Genetic Factors Underlie Stability of Obsessive–Compulsive Symptoms

D.S. van Grootheest, D. Cath, J.J. Hottenga, A.T.F. Beekman, D.I. Boomsma

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The contribution of genetic and environmental factors to the stability of obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms has not yet been established in adult population based samples. We obtained the Young Adult Self Report Obsessive-Compulsive Subscale in mono- and dizygotic twins from the population-based Netherlands Twin Register in 1991, 1995 and 1997 and the Padua Inventory Revised Abbreviated in 2002. Stability of OC symptoms was analyzed as a function of genetic and environmental components. Heritability of OC behavior was around 40% at each time-point, independent of the instrument used. OC behavior was moderately stable with correlations ranging between r = .2 (for 11-year intervals), .4 (for 4-5 year intervals) and .6 (for 2 year intervals). Genetic correlations across time were higher, varying between .4 and .9, indicating that the stability of OC symptoms is mainly due to stable genetic factors. This study showed a moderate heritability and stability for OC behavior in adults. Genetic stability across time is high.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-419
JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Cohort Studies

  • Netherlands Twin Register (NTR)


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