Transition from stress sensitivity to a depressive state: longitudinal twin study

Marieke Wichers*, Nicole Geschwind, Nele Jacobs, Gunter Kenis, Frenk Peeters, Catherine Derom, Evert Thiery, Philippe Delespaul, Jim van Os

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    99 Citations (Web of Science)
    23 Downloads (Pure)


    Background Daily-life stress sensitivity is associated with depression, but prospective data are lacking. Aims To examine associations between baseline ecological daily-life stress sensitivity and later depression, and to identify genetic and non-genetic factors moderating the transition from stress sensitivity to depression. Method Daily-life stress sensitivity was assessed at baseline in twins (n = 502). one baseline and four follow-up measurements of depressive symptoms and negative life events were collected, as well as interview-based diagnoses at baseline and last follow-up. Hypothesised genetic markers were determined. Results Baseline stress sensitivity was associated with increased depressive symptoms at follow-up and risk of major depressive disorder. Both genetic liability and major life events moderated the probability of transition from stress sensitivity to depression. Conclusions Onset of depression is attributable to pre-onset ecological measurements of stress sensitivity, particularly where genetic liability is high and individuals have reached a stage where the influence of competing environmental causes is low.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)498-503
    JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009

    Cite this