The Decomposition of Shared Environmental Influences on Externalizing Syndromes in the Swedish Population: A Multivariate Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Using information from Swedish population registries, we attempt to decompose the shared environment (C) into four subcomponents: close family, family, household, and community. Among pairs differing in their genetic and geographical/household relationships, we examine three externalizing syndromes: drug abuse (DA), criminal behavior (CB), and alcohol use disorders (AUD). The best-fitting common pathway model suggested that total estimates for C were higher for DA (21% for males and 18% for females) than for AUD (16% and 14%) and CB (17% and 10%). Concerning syndrome-specific influences in males, close family effects were stronger for CB and AUD, while community effects were stronger for DA. The two C components in between community experiences and close family experiences (family and household) were estimated to almost entirely derive from the common latent factor. In females, among the four components of C, the community experiences were just slightly above zero, while the C components referred to as the household effect were almost zero. The total close family experiences were similar and most important across syndromes were also divided into common and specific components. For all syndromes, for both males and females, the effects of additive genetic factors were 2-4 times the size of the total effect of the shared environment. Applying standard methods to novel relationships, we expand our understanding of how the shared environment contributes to individual differences in three externalizing syndromes.


External organisations
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Karolinska Institutet
  • Stanford University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Medical Genetics
  • Family Medicine


  • close family, community, externalizing syndromes, family, household, shared environment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-309
Number of pages12
JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug 1
Publication categoryResearch