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A Genetic Epidemiologic Study of Social Support in a Chinese Sample

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 February 2012

Wen-yan Ji
Affiliation:
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Peking University, Beijing, China.
Yong-hua Hu*
Affiliation:
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Peking University, Beijing, China. jwy_hgs@sina.com
Yue-qin Huang
Affiliation:
Institute of Mental Health, Peking University, Beijing, China.
Wei-hua Cao
Affiliation:
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Peking University, Beijing, China.
Jun Lu
Affiliation:
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Peking University, Beijing, China.
Ying Qin
Affiliation:
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Peking University, Beijing, China.
Zeng-chang Peng
Affiliation:
Center for Disease Control and Prevention at Qingdao, Qingdao, China.
Shao-jie Wang
Affiliation:
Center for Disease Control and Prevention at Qingdao, Qingdao, China.
Li-ming Lee
Affiliation:
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Peking University, Beijing, China.
*
*Address for correspondence: Yong-hua Hu, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Peking University, 38 Xue Yuan Road, Hai Dian District, Beijing, China 100083.

Abstract

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Accumulated evidence suggests that social support is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. However, there are little data that examine this issue from Asian samples. We reported results from a preliminary study that examined familial effects on social support in a Chinese adult twin sample. We administered a 10-item social support instrument that measures three dimensions of social support (i.e., objective support, subjective support, and utilization of support) developed for the Chinese population. Two hundred forty-two same-sex twin pairs, where both members of the pair completed the personal interview, were included in the final analysis. Structural equation modeling was used to estimate additive genetic (A), shared environmental (C), and nonshared environmental (E) effects on each dimension of social support. Familial factors (A+C) explained 56.63% [95% CI = 45.48–65.72%] and 42.42% [95% CI = 29.93–53.25%] of the total phenotypic variances of subjective support and utilization of support, respectively. For the objective support, genetic effects did not exist, but common environmental effect explained 37.56% [95% CI = 26.17–48.28%] of the total phenotypic variances. Neither gender nor age effects were seen on any dimension of social support. Except for objective support, genetic factors probably influence variation in subjective support and utilization of support. Shared environmental factors may influence all dimensions of social support.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008