Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Corr I 370
Fear/anxiety/twin studies/Corr: In (…) the psychopathology literature, the distinction between fear and anxiety has been identified. A behavioural genetic study of ten major psychiatric disorders, in a sample of 5,600 twins (Kendler, Prescott, Myers and Neale 2003)(1) revealed the following findings:
(a) two major dimensions emerged, one relating to internalizing disorders (i.e., major depression, generalized anxiety disorder and phobia), the other to externalizing disorders (i.e., alcohol dependence, drug abuse/dependence, adult antisocial behaviour and conduct disorder);
(b) no differences in genetic and environmental influences for males and females, despite the large difference in prevalence rates;
(c) unique (i.e., non-shared family) environment effects for internalizing disorders;
(d) and, of most relevance to RST, the structure of genetic risk for internalizing disorders broken down into an ‘anxious-misery’ factor (i.e., depression, generalized disorder and panic) and a specific ‘fear’ factor (i.e., animal and situational phobia). Earlier, Prescott and Kendler (1998)(2) noted that mild depression and generalized anxiety do not appear to have distinct genetic etiologies, but rather a common genetic basis, perhaps a disposition to dysphoric mood which is shaped by individual experiences into symptoms of depression, anxiety, or both. (See also, Kendler et al. (1992.)(3).


1. Kendler, K. S., Prescott, C. A., Myers, J. and Neale, M. C. 2003. The structure of genetic and environmental risk factors for common psychiatric and substance use disorders in men and women, Archives of General Psychiatry 60: 929–37
2. Prescott. C. A. and Kendler, K. S. 1998. Do anxious and depressive states share common genetic factors?, European Neuropsychopharmacology 8 Suppl. 2: S76–S77
3. Kendler, K. S., Neale, M. C., Kessler, R. C., Heath, A. C. and Eaves, L. J. 1992. Major depression and generalized anxiety disorder: same genes, (partly) different environments?, Archives of General Psychiatry 49: 716–22


Philip J. Corr, „ The Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality“, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Twin Studies
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018


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