Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Environmental And Genetic Factors Influence Development Of Psychiatric Disorders

Date:
March 21, 2000
Source:
Center For The Advancement Of Health
Summary:
The experience of misfortunes, or extreme adverse circumstances, can make a person more vulnerable to psychiatric disorders, but in recent years such environmental influences have received less research emphasis than genetic ones, according to a study.

The experience of misfortunes, or extreme adverse circumstances, can make a person more vulnerable to psychiatric disorders, but in recent years such environmental influences have received less research emphasis than genetic ones, according to a study.

"The assumption about the primacy of environment has tended to give way over the past 25 to 30 years to a Zeitgeist favoring biological factors, especially those that trace biology to genetic inheritance," said study author Bruce P. Dohrenwend, PhD, of the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University, in New York City.

The development of drug treatments like Prozac, as well as the convincing results of twin studies by genetics researchers, has contributed to this change in focus. However, although genetic factors exert a powerful influence on the development of psychiatric disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, alcoholism, substance abuse, and antisocial personality disorder, they are not the sole cause, according to Dohrenwend.

The researcher cites Willy Loman, the depressed character in Arthur Miller1s play Death of a Salesman, as an example of someone whose problems have environmental as well as biological components, and as such, won1t be solved by Prozac alone.

"The explanation of his plight, perhaps like the explanation for the occurrence of much of the serious psychopathology in the general population, would be sought in sets of relationships in which he would be seen as both victim and creator of his fate," said Dohrenwend.

Dohrenwend summarized three lines of environmental research that strongly suggest that adversity is important in the development of psychiatric disorders. This research triad provides a "compelling analogy" to studies that emphasize genetics, according to Dohrenwend, whose research appears in the March 2000 issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

One line of research focusing on extreme situations concluded that post-traumatic stress disorder can develop in previously normal people exposed to uncontrollable negative events. A second line of research found a link between low socioeconomic status and the prevalence of psychiatric disorders. The third set of studies strongly suggests that social factors are more important than genetically related selection factors in the link between low socioeconomic status and the occurrence of disorders such as depression in women and antisocial personality, alcoholism, and substance abuse in men.

Analyses of the results of all three sets of studies suggest the same idea: the greater the uncontrollable changes following a negative event, the greater the likelihood that a disorder will develop. But the source of "uncontrollable change" varies with the part played by the behavior of the individual in the occurrence of the event.

The research was supported in part by the National Institute of Mental Health.

The Journal of Health and Social Behavior is a peer-reviewed quarterly publication of the American Sociological Association.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Center For The Advancement Of Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Environmental And Genetic Factors Influence Development Of Psychiatric Disorders." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000321080234.htm>.
Center For The Advancement Of Health. (2000, March 21). Environmental And Genetic Factors Influence Development Of Psychiatric Disorders. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000321080234.htm
Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Environmental And Genetic Factors Influence Development Of Psychiatric Disorders." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000321080234.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins