Psychoanalysis Unit


Gene-Environment Interactions in Families with Adolescents (GiGA)

PIs: Professor Patrick Luyten, Professor Bart Soenens, Professor Nicole Vliegen, Professor Stephan Claes


Recent research suggests that interactions between genes and the environment play an important role in the intergenerational transmission of vulnerability for psychopathology. This study focuses on the role of these interactions in the relationship between Self-Critical Perfectionism (SCP), which is characterised by the combination of high personal standards and high self-criticism, and the intergenerational transmission of vulnerability for internalising and externalising disorders in adolescence. There is good evidence to suggest that SCP is related to the onset and course of several types of psychopathology in adolescence, such as depression, eating disorders and conduct problems, even when broad personality features such as Neuroticism (the tendency to experience negative affect) are taken into account. Although previous studies suggest that gene-environment interactions (GxE) and gene-environment correlations (rGE; influences of the genotype on the environment) may play a role in explaining the vulnerability for psychopathology associated with SCP, there has been inadequate research in this area. This study aims to investigate the role of GxE and rGE in the relationship between SCP and both internalising and externalising disorders in the context of an ongoing longitudinal, multiwave adoption study focusing on adolescent international adoptees (age 12-18) and their parents (200 families) and a sample of community parents and their children (200 families).

Contact: p.luyten@ucl.ac.uk