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Using genetic designs to identify likely causal environmental contributions to psychopathology

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-10, 04:33 authored by Ruth Sellers, Lucy Riglin, Gordon Harold, Anita Thapar
The multifactorial nature of psychopathology, whereby both genetic and environmental factors contribute risk, has long been established. In this paper, we provide an update on genetically informative designs that are utilized to disentangle genetic and environmental contributions to psychopathology. We provide a brief reminder of quantitative behavioral genetic research designs that have been used to identify potentially causal environmental processes, accounting for genetic contributions. We also provide an overview of recent molecular genetic approaches that utilize genome-wide association study data which are increasingly being applied to questions relevant to psychopathology research. While genetically informative designs typically have been applied to investigate the origins of psychopathology, we highlight how these approaches can also be used to elucidate potential causal environmental processes that contribute to developmental course and outcomes. We highlight the need to use genetically sensitive designs that align with intervention and prevention science efforts, by considering strengths-based environments to investigate how positive environments can mitigate risk and promote children’s strengths.


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Development and Psychopathology




Cambridge University Press

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  • Primary Care and Public Health Publications

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