Genome-wide Association Meta-analysis of Childhood and Adolescent Internalizing Symptoms

Eshim S. Jami, Anke R. Hammerschlag, Hill F. Ip, Andrea G. Allegrini, Beben Benyamin, Richard Border, Elizabeth W. Diemer, Chang Jiang, Ville Karhunen, Yi Lu, Qing Lu, Travis T. Mallard, Pashupati P. Mishra, Ilja M. Nolte, Teemu Palviainen, Roseann E. Peterson, Hannah M. Sallis, Andrey A. Shabalin, Ashley E. Tate, Elisabeth ThieringNatàlia Vilor-Tejedor, Carol Wang, Ang Zhou, Daniel E. Adkins, Silvia Alemany, Helga Ask, Qi Chen, Robin P. Corley, Erik A. Ehli, Luke M. Evans, Alexandra Havdahl, Fiona A. Hagenbeek, Christian Hakulinen, Anjali K. Henders, Jouke Jan Hottenga, Tellervo Korhonen, Abdullah Mamun, Shelby Marrington, Alexander Neumann, Kaili Rimfeld, Fernando Rivadeneira, Judy L. Silberg, Catharina E. van Beijsterveldt, Eero Vuoksimaa, Alyce M. Whipp, Xiaoran Tong, Ole A. Andreassen, Dorret I. Boomsma, Sandra A. Brown, S. Alexandra Burt, William Copeland, Danielle M. Dick, K. Paige Harden, Kathleen Mullan Harris, Catharina A. Hartman, Joachim Heinrich, John K. Hewitt, Christian Hopfer, Elina Hypponen, Marjo Riitta Jarvelin, Jaakko Kaprio, Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen, Kelly L. Klump, Kenneth Krauter, Ralf Kuja-Halkola, Henrik Larsson, Terho Lehtimäki, Paul Lichtenstein, Sebastian Lundström, Hermine H. Maes, Per Magnus, Marcus R. Munafò, Jake M. Najman, Pål R. Njølstad, Albertine J. Oldehinkel, Craig E. Pennell, Robert Plomin, Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud, Chandra Reynolds, Richard J. Rose, Andrew Smolen, Harold Snieder, Michael Stallings, Marie Standl, Jordi Sunyer, Henning Tiemeier, Sally J. Wadsworth, Tamara L. Wall, Andrew J.O. Whitehouse, Gail M. Williams, Eivind Ystrøm, Michel G. Nivard, Meike Bartels, Christel M. Middeldorp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate the genetic architecture of internalizing symptoms in childhood and adolescence. Method: In 22 cohorts, multiple univariate genome-wide association studies (GWASs) were performed using repeated assessments of internalizing symptoms, in a total of 64,561 children and adolescents between 3 and 18 years of age. Results were aggregated in meta-analyses that accounted for sample overlap, first using all available data, and then using subsets of measurements grouped by rater, age, and instrument. Results: The meta-analysis of overall internalizing symptoms (INToverall) detected no genome-wide significant hits and showed low single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) heritability (1.66%, 95% CI = 0.84-2.48%, neffective = 132,260). Stratified analyses indicated rater-based heterogeneity in genetic effects, with self-reported internalizing symptoms showing the highest heritability (5.63%, 95% CI = 3.08%-8.18%). The contribution of additive genetic effects on internalizing symptoms appeared to be stable over age, with overlapping estimates of SNP heritability from early childhood to adolescence. Genetic correlations were observed with adult anxiety, depression, and the well-being spectrum (|rg| > 0.70), as well as with insomnia, loneliness, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism, and childhood aggression (range |rg| = 0.42-0.60), whereas there were no robust associations with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or anorexia nervosa. Conclusion: Genetic correlations indicate that childhood and adolescent internalizing symptoms share substantial genetic vulnerabilities with adult internalizing disorders and other childhood psychiatric traits, which could partially explain both the persistence of internalizing symptoms over time and the high comorbidity among childhood psychiatric traits. Reducing phenotypic heterogeneity in childhood samples will be key in paving the way to future GWAS success.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)934-945
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Genome-wide Association Meta-analysis of Childhood and Adolescent Internalizing Symptoms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this