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Finding gene-environment interactions for phobias


Phobias are common disorders causing a great deal of suffering. Studies of gene-environment interaction (G × E) have revealed much about the complex processes underlying the development of various psychiatric disorders but have told us little about phobias. This article describes what is already known about genetic and environmental influences upon phobias and suggests how this information can be used to optimise the chances of discovering G × Es for phobias. In addition to the careful conceptualisation of new studies, it is suggested that data already collected should be re-analysed in light of increased understanding of processes influencing phobias.

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Thalia C. Eley is funded by a Medical Research Council Career Development Award. The authors thank Megan Crawford, Jessica Holland and Thomas Willis for their feedback on an earlier draft of this manuscript and for their assistance in preparing this article.

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Correspondence to Alice M. Gregory.

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Gregory, A.M., Lau, J.Y.F. & Eley, T.C. Finding gene-environment interactions for phobias. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosc 258, 76–81 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00406-007-0786-3

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Key words

  • gene
  • environment
  • interaction
  • phobia
  • twins