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Causality and Pleiotropy in the Association Between Bullying Victimization in Adolescence and Depressive Episodes in Adulthood

Kretschmer, T., Tropf, F. C. & Niezink, N. M. D., Feb-2018, In : Twin research and human genetics. 21, 1, p. 33-41 9 p.

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  • Causality and Pleiotropy in the AssociationBetween Bullying Victimization in Adolescenceand Depressive Episodes in Adulthood

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DOI

Children and adolescents who are victims or perpetrators of bullying victimization are at elevated risk for maladjustment problems, concurrently and in the long run. Previous studies suggest that this correlation is partly explained by genetic influence. However, whether the genetic correlation is independent of a causal effect of victimization on maladjustment remains unclear. Using data from 2,510 females from the TwinsUK registry, we applied an innovative extension of the Cholesky decomposition to investigate to what extent the association between victimization in adolescence and self-reported depressive episodes in adulthood is caused by shared genetic effects (pleiotropy), and to what extent it is due to a phenotypic causal relationship. We find that around 60% of the association between victimization and self-reported depressive episodes is due to a causal effect of victimization on depressive episodes, and 40% is due to pleiotropic effects. These findings underline the importance of integrating genetic information into social science research and demonstrate a neat strategy to elucidate causal mechanisms in the absence of experimental designs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-41
Number of pages9
JournalTwin research and human genetics
Volume21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2018

    Keywords

  • bullying victimization, depression, twin study, within-MZ twin, TwinsUK, ACE-beta model, PEER VICTIMIZATION, ENVIRONMENTAL-INFLUENCES, INTERNALIZING PROBLEMS, HEALTH OUTCOMES, BIRTH COHORT, CHILDHOOD, TWINS, BEHAVIORS, SYMPTOMS, VICTIMS

ID: 77691674