MPIDR Working Paper

Genetic susceptibility to depression and the role of partnership status

Gueltzow, M., Lahtinen, H., Bijlsma, M. J., Myrskylä, M., Martikainen, P.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2023-049, 32 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (November 2023)
Revised November 2023
Open Access


This study explored the interplay between genetic predisposition, partnership status and depression by examining the association of a polygenic risk score (PGS) for depression with time to antidepressant purchasing and the moderating role of partnership status. We analysed data from 30,192 Finnish individuals with an accelerated failure time model. While the cumulative hazard of antidepressant purchasing varied across PGS and partnership status – with the highest cumulative hazard in the widowed group, followed by divorced, single, married and cohabiting – we found no evidence for an interaction between PGS and partnership status. Results were robust to different model specifications, gender stratification, choice of PGS, and endogenous selection. Although antidepressant purchasing correlated with both PGS and partnership status, we found no evidence that partnership status could partially offset or amplify the association between the PGS for depression and depression incidence. 

Keywords: Finland, genetics, marital status, mental health
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.