Sexual orientation and psychiatric vulnerability: A twin study of neuroticism and psychoticism

Zietsch, Brendan P., Verweij, Karin J. H., Bailey, J. Michael, Wright, Margaret J. and Martin, Nicholas G. (2011) Sexual orientation and psychiatric vulnerability: A twin study of neuroticism and psychoticism. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40 1: 133-142. doi:10.1007/s10508-009-9508-4

Author Zietsch, Brendan P.
Verweij, Karin J. H.
Bailey, J. Michael
Wright, Margaret J.
Martin, Nicholas G.
Title Sexual orientation and psychiatric vulnerability: A twin study of neuroticism and psychoticism
Journal name Archives of Sexual Behavior   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-0002
Publication date 2011-02
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10508-009-9508-4
Volume 40
Issue 1
Start page 133
End page 142
Total pages 10
Editor Kenneth J. Zucker
Allison Owen-Anderson
Place of publication New York, NY, U.S.A.
Publisher Springer New York
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject 0604 Genetics
1701 Psychology
970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Formatted abstract
Recent evidence indicates that homosexuals and bisexuals are, on average, at greater risk for psychiatric problems than heterosexuals. It is assumed with some supporting evidence that prejudice often experienced by nonheterosexuals makes them more vulnerable to psychiatric disorder, but there has been no investigation of alternative explanations. Here we used Eysenck’s Neuroticism and Psychoticism scales as markers for psychiatric vulnerability and compared heterosexuals with nonheterosexuals in a community-based sample of identical and nonidentical twins aged between 19 and 52 years (N = 4904). Firstly, we tested whether apparent sexual orientation differences in psychiatric vulnerability simply mirrored sex differences—for our traits, this would predict nonheterosexual males having elevated Neuroticism scores as females do, and nonheterosexual females having elevated Psychoticism scores as males do. Our results contradicted this idea, with nonheterosexual men and women scoring significantly higher on Neuroticism and Psychoticism than their heterosexual counterparts, suggesting an overall elevation of psychiatric risk in nonheterosexuals. Secondly, we used our genetically informative sample to assess the viability of explanations invoking a common cause of both nonheterosexuality and psychiatric vulnerability. We found significant genetic correlation between sexual orientation and both Neuroticism and Psychoticism, but no corresponding environmental correlations, suggesting that if there is a common cause of both nonheterosexuality and psychiatric vulnerability it is likely to have a genetic basis rather than an environmental basis.
Keyword Sexual orientation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online: 9 July 2009.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
ERA 2012 Admin Only
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 14 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 25 Feb 2010, 14:40:39 EST by Mr Brendan Zietsch on behalf of School of Psychology