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VOLUME 37, ISSUE 02

SLEEP DURATION AND DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS: A GENE-ENVIRONMENT INTERACTION
Sleep Duration and Depressive Symptoms: A Gene-Environment Interaction

http://dx.doi.org/10.5665/sleep.3412

Nathaniel F. Watson, MD, MSc1,2,3; Kathryn Paige Harden, PhD4; Dedra Buchwald, MD5; Michael V. Vitiello, PhD6,3; Allan I. Pack, MBChB, PhD7; Eric Strachan, PhD6; Jack Goldberg, PhD5,8

1Department of Neurology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; 2UW Medicine Sleep Center, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; 3Center for Research on the Management of Sleep Disturbances, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; 4Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX; 5Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; 6Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; 7Division of Sleep Medicine/Department of Medicine and Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA; 8Vietnam Era Twin Registry, VA Epidemiologic Research and Information Center, Seattle, WA



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Objective:

We used quantitative genetic models to assess whether sleep duration modifies genetic and environmental influences on depressive symptoms.

Method:

Participants were 1,788 adult twins from 894 same-sex twin pairs (192 male and 412 female monozygotic [MZ] pairs, and 81 male and 209 female dizygotic [DZ] pairs] from the University of Washington Twin Registry. Participants self-reported habitual sleep duration and depressive symptoms. Data were analyzed using quantitative genetic interaction models, which allowed the magnitude of additive genetic, shared environmental, and non-shared environmental influences on depressive symptoms to vary with sleep duration.

Results:

Within MZ twin pairs, the twin who reported longer sleep duration reported fewer depressive symptoms (ec = -0.17, SE = 0.06, P < 0.05). There was a significant gene × sleep duration interaction effect on depressive symptoms (a'c = 0.23, SE = 0.08, P < 0.05), with the interaction occurring on genetic influences that are common to both sleep duration and depressive symptoms. Among individuals with sleep duration within the normal range (7-8.9 h/night), the total heritability (h2) of depressive symptoms was approximately 27%. However, among individuals with sleep duration within the low (< 7 h/night) or high (≥ 9 h/night) range, increased genetic influence on depressive symptoms was observed, particularly at sleep duration extremes (5 h/night: h2 = 53%; 10 h/night: h2 = 49%).

Conclusion:

Genetic contributions to depressive symptoms increase at both short and long sleep durations.

Citation:

Watson NF; Harden KP; Buchwald D; Vitiello MV; Pack AI; Stachan E; Goldberg J. Sleep duration and depressive symptoms: a gene-environment interaction. SLEEP 2014;37(2):351-358.

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