Gene–environment interactions in psychopathology throughout early childhood: a systematic review

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Abstract

Up to 20% of children and adolescents worldwide suffer from mental health problems. Epidemiological studies have shown that some of these problems are already present at an early age. The recognition that psychopathology is a result of an interaction between individual experiences and genetic characteristics has led to an increase in the number of studies using a gene–environment approach (G×E). However, to date, there has been no systematic review of G×E studies on psychopathology in the first 6 years of life. Following a literature search and a selection process, 14 studies were identified and most (n=12) of the studies found at least one significant G×E effect. This review provides a systematic characterization of the published G×E studies, providing insights into the neurobiological and environmental determinants involved in the etiology of children’s psychopathology.

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