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Gene-environment interaction: New insights into perceived parenting and social anxiety among adolescents

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BACKGROUND: Social anxiety symptoms (SAS) are among the most common mental health problems during adolescence, and it has been shown that parenting influences the adolescent's level of social anxiety. In addition, it is now widely assumed that most mental health problems, including social anxiety, originate from a complex interplay between genes and environment. However, to date, gene-environment (G × E) interactions studies in the field of social anxiety remain limited. In this study, we have examined how 274 genes involved in different neurotransmission pathways interact with five aspects of perceived parenting as environmental exposure (i.e., support, proactive control, psychological control, punitive control, and harsh punitive control) to affect SAS during adolescence. METHODS: We have applied an analytical technique that allows studying genetic information at the gene level, by aggregating data from multiple single-nucleotide-polymorphisms within the same gene and by taking into account the linkage disequilibrium structure of the gene. All participants were part of the STRATEGIES cohort of 948 Flemish adolescents (mean age = 13.7), a population-based study on the development of problem behaviors in adolescence. Relevant genes were preselected based on prior findings and neurotransmitter-related functional protein networks. RESULTS: The results suggest that genes involved in glutamate (SLC1A1), glutathione neurotransmission (GSTZ1), and oxidative stress (CALCRL), in association with harsh punitive parenting, may contribute to social anxiety in adolescence. Isolated polymorphisms in these genes have been related to anxiety and related disorders in earlier work.Conclusions: Taken together, these findings provide new insights into possible biological pathways and environmental risk factors involved in the etiology of social anxiety symptoms' development. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, these findings provide new insights into possible biological pathways and environmental risk factors involved in the etiology of social anxiety symptoms' development.
Tijdschrift: European Psychiatry
ISSN: 0924-9338
Issue: 1
Volume: 63
Aantal pagina's: 7
Jaar van publicatie:2020