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Anxiety disorders are common, and cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) is a first-line treatment. Candidate gene studies have suggested a genetic basis to treatment response, but findings have been inconsistent.
To perform the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) of psychological treatment response in children with anxiety disorders (n = 980).
Presence and severity of anxiety was assessed using semi-structured interview at baseline, on completion of treatment (post-treatment), and 3 to 12 months after treatment completion (follow-up). DNA was genotyped using the Illumina Human Core Exome-12v1.0 array. Linear mixed models were used to test associations between genetic variants and response (change in symptom severity) immediately post-treatment and at 6-month follow-up.
No variants passed a genome-wide significance threshold (P=5×10–8) in either analysis. Four variants met criteria for suggestive significance (P<5×10–6) in association with response post-treatment, and three variants in the 6-month follow-up analysis.
This is the first genome-wide therapygenetic study. It suggests no common variants of very high effect underlie response to CBT. Future investigations should maximise power to detect single-variant and polygenic effects by using larger, more homogeneous cohorts.
The present study investigated the relations between youth anxiety sensitivity and perceived anxiety control over Internal Reactions and perceived anxiety control over External Threats within the context of a (partially) mediated model in the prediction of anxiety symptoms. Youth sex also was investigated as a moderator of the conceptual model. The sample consisted of 333 children and adolescents (51.4% boys; M = 10.27 years old) referred to a youth anxiety disorders specialty research clinic. Findings showed that high anxiety sensitivity predicted high levels of anxiety symptoms for both boys and girls. Findings also showed that for both boys and girls, high anxiety sensitivity predicted low perceived anxiety control over Internal Reactions, as well as low perceived anxiety control over External Threats. Interestingly, perceived anxiety control over Internal Reactions was a partial mediator of the relation between anxiety sensitivity and anxiety for boys, but not girls. In contrast, perceived anxiety control over External Threats was a partial mediator of the relation between anxiety sensitivity and anxiety for girls, but not boys. The results are discussed within the context of the study's conceptual model as well as potential clinical implications.
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