Shared aetiology of risky sexual behaviour and adolescent misconduct: Genetic and environmental influences

K. J.H. Verweij, B. P. Zietsch, J. M. Bailey, N. G. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Risky sexual behaviour (RSB) is a major risk factor for serious diseases as well as unplanned pregnancy. It is not known if RSB has a genetic basis or if it is only influenced by social and cultural conditions. Adolescent conduct disorder has previously been linked to RSB and has been found to be influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. In this study, we look at normal variation in a broad measure of RSB and in retrospectively reported adolescent misconduct in a large community sample of twins (n = 4904) to partition the variance and covariance between the traits into genetic and environmental components. We found that RSB is influenced to the same extent by genes, shared environment and unshared environment. Adolescent misconduct is moderately influenced by genetic factors and only modestly by shared environmental factors. Moreover, RSB is associated with adolescent misconduct (r = 0.5), primarily because of genetic correlation between the variables. The implications of our findings as well as possible sex differences are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-113
Number of pages7
JournalGenes, Brain and Behavior
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2009

Keywords

  • Adolescent misconduct
  • Conduct
  • Environment
  • Genetics
  • Heritability
  • Risky sexual behaviour
  • Twin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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