Associations Between Common Forms of Psychopathology and Fecundity: Evidence From a Prospective, Longitudinal Twin Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We examined associations between common psychiatric disorders and fecundity in a population-based cohort of 1252 twins prospectively assessed from adolescence into adulthood. Major depressive, anxiety, and alcohol use disorders were associated with lower likelihood of having children and having fewer children. Survival analyses yielded similar results accounting for timing/recurrence. Although both early- and adult-onset psychiatric disorders were associated with decreased fecundity, early-onset major depressive, anxiety (among boys), and alcohol use disorders (among girls) were associated with greater likelihood of having a child during adolescence. Among twin pairs discordant for psychiatric disorders, twins affected by anxiety and alcohol use, but not major depressive, disorders were less likely to have children than unaffected co-twins. However, unaffected twins with an affected co-twin were no more likely to have children than twins from unaffected twin pairs, inconsistent with the balancing selection hypothesis that increased fecundity in unaffected relatives accounts for persistence of psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-209
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Psychological Science
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.

Keywords

  • alcohol use disorder
  • anxiety disorders
  • fecundity
  • major depressive disorder

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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