B4015 - Genetic determinants of childhood adversity - 09/03/2022

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Laura Howe | MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Stephanie Page, Amanda Hughes, Annie Herbert
Title of project: 
Genetic determinants of childhood adversity
Proposal summary: 

Experiencing adversity during childhood, such as maltreatment or family dysfunction, is associated with worse physical and mental health. However, it is possible that associations between childhood adversity and subsequent health are confounded by genetics. Recent studies have demonstrated associations between various polygenic scores and adverse experiences including trauma (1) and bullying (2). Understanding this gene-environment correlation is the first step towards deriving the appropriate confounding adjustments to better estimate the causal impact of childhood adversity on later health.

1 - Peel A et al. Genetic and early environmental predictors of adulthood self-reports of trauma. Br J Psychiatry
. 2022 Feb 2;1-8. doi: 10.1192/bjp.2021.207. Online ahead of print.
2 - Schoeler et al. Multi-Polygenic Score Approach to Identifying Individual Vulnerabilities Associated With the Risk of Exposure to Bullying. JAMA Psychiatry
. 2019 Jul 1;76(7):730-738. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.0310.

Impact of research: 
Understanding gene-environment correlations that may lead to confounding in studies of the health consequences of adversity
Date proposal received: 
Friday, 25 February, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 9 March, 2022
Genetic epidemiology (including association studies and mendelian randomisation), Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Mental health, Cohort studies - attrition, bias, participant engagement, ethics, Childhood - childcare, childhood adversity, Genetic epidemiology, Psychology - personality, Social science