Gene-Environment Interplay in the Relationship between Victimisation and Mental Health
Around 13% of youth between the ages of 11 and 15 experience bullying victimisation (Craig et al., 2008). Victimisation can be particularly harmful during key developmental periods, such as adolescence and early adulthood, because many major changes happen in the physiology and the social world during these periods. It is evidenced that adolescent exposure to bullying victimisation is a risk factor for an array of negative mental health outcomes during adolescence as well as early adulthood (Schoeler et al., 2018).
Depression, self-harm, and vulnerability to victimisation are influenced by a mixture of genetic and environmental effects. Therefore, the associations between them may be confounded by unmeasured genetic and environmental factors. Genetic confounding would evidence one type of gene-environment interplay – gene-environment correlations (rGE), and it can be uncovered using genetically sensitive designs.
Another type of gene-environment interplay is gene-environment interaction (GxE). Kendler et al. (2010) showed that genetic vulnerability to depression was moderated by environmental risk factors, supporting the Diathesis-Stress Model, which postulates that only those with pre-existing vulnerability (i.e., genetic) will develop psychopathology when exposed to adversity.
In my PhD, I am investigating the relationship between victimisation and mental health outcomes through a genetically-informed lens, using data from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) and Colombo Twins and Singleton Study (CoTaSS). I may explore other longitudinal twin and/or singleton studies.
Dr Helena Zavos
Twitter – https://twitter.com/filipkaleta3
2-Life Course, Psychology, & Health
Twitter – https://twitter.com/FilipKaleta3