Genetic Influences on Social Life: Evidence, Pathways, and Implications for Sociological Inquiry
- John Mattison Bradshaw, Christopher G. Ellison Co-Chair, +5 authors Mark Hayward Co-Chair
Interpersonal relationships are important factors in mental health. A genetically sensitive design was used to examine associations among marital quality, adequacy of social support, and 2 aspects of positive mental health in a sample of 652 Swedish twin women and their families. There were 3 main findings. First, the covariance between relationships and positive mental health was partially accounted for by common genetic variance. Second, nonshared environmental influences played a substantial role in the covariance among the 3 constructs, with evidence for husbands being a source of this influence. Finally, different patterns of associations were found between relationships and 2 aspects of mental health, well-being and global self-worth, which shows how seemingly similar constructs can be differentially associated with relationships. Together, these findings emphasize the importance of genetically informed studies in family research and the role of the environment and interpersonal relationships in promoting and improving mental health.