Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVES: Little is known about the aetiology of the links between sleep disturbance and anxiety and depression symptoms. The aim of this study was to estimate genetic and environmental influences on these associations. METHODS: Questionnaires were completed by 1556 young adults from twin and sibling pairs (61.5% female). RESULTS: Sleep disturbance was moderately correlated with symptoms of anxiety (r=.39) and depression (r=.50). There was substantial overlap between genes influencing sleep disturbance and those influencing symptoms of anxiety (rA=.58) and depression (rA=.68). Overall, the associations between sleep and symptoms of both anxiety and depression were mainly due to genes (explaining 74% and 58% of the covariances respectively), with the remainder due to nonshared environmental factors. CONCLUSIONS: Moderate phenotypic and genetic correlations between the phenotypes support the view that sleep disturbance is related to the presence of various psychiatric difficulties, but also warrants independent consideration and treatment.

Original publication




Journal article


J Psychosom Res

Publication Date





250 - 255


Adolescent, Adult, Anxiety, Depression, Female, Humans, Male, Siblings, Sleep, Sleep Wake Disorders, Surveys and Questionnaires, Twins