Genome-wide association meta-analysis of internalising problems

Project summary

Internalising symptoms in early life are highly prevalent and chronic. It is estimated that 1 in 5 children experience internalising problems and these childhood behaviours are associated with an increased risk for the development of mood and anxiety disorders in adulthood. Classical twin research shows internalising behaviours have a strong genetic component, with 50% of variance in internalising problems explained by genetic factors. In the current genomics era, large-scale genome-wide association (GWA) studies have successfully identified several novel genetic loci associated with anxious and depressive disorders in adulthood. However, to date GWA investigations in child samples have been rare and underpowered. This meta-analysis aims to combine data from childhood cohorts to investigate genetic factors associated with internalising problems throughout childhood and adolescence. Univariate analyses at cohort level are stratified by instrument, age (from age 3 to 18) and rater (mother, father, teacher, self). A GWA meta-analysis will be performed to identify genetic loci associated with internalising problems across all ages. Secondary analyses, subset by age and rater, will be used to investigate age and rater-specific genetic effects, as well as genetic effects that are stable over time and across raters.

Childhood internalizing problems


Lead Analyst: Eshim Shahid (
Lead PIs: Christel Middeldorp ( and Meike Bartels (


The European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions – MSCA-ITN-2016 – Innovative Training Networks under grant agreement number 721567: CAPICE


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