Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 167–173 | Cite as

The genetics of depression in childhood and adolescence

  • Frances RiceEmail author


This article reviews family, twin, and adoption studies of childhood and adolescent depression. Results from several family and twin studies suggest that an etiologic heterogeneity exists in depression in childhood and adolescence. Twin studies show that genetic influences on depression in young people may be indirect and work via effects on environmental risk exposure (gene-environment correlation) or genetic sensitivity to environmental risks (gene-environment interaction). Recent research on gene-environment interaction has examined the effect of specific functional genetic polymorphisms in conjunction with environmental stressors. Future research needs to work toward identifying which environmental and genetic risk factors are crucial to the development of depression in youth, as well as mechanisms involved in the familial transmission of depression. This will not only improve understanding of the etiology of childhood and adolescent depression but also inform the development of therapeutic and preventive interventions.


Depressive Symptom Major Depressive Disorder Stressful Life Event Twin Study Adolescent Depression 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Current Medicine Group, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical, Educational, and Health Psychology Research Department, Division of Psychology and Language SciencesUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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