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Genes for Treatment

The Genes for Treatment studies, were a set of studies exploring the role of genetic factors on response to psychological treatment. The first of these was a study of school-aged children, undergoing Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy for an anxiety disorder. This was an international multi site collaboration with over 10 different groups recruiting into the study. The second was the Genes for Exposure Therapy project, recruiting from three clinics in Germany. These were all clinics providing exposure based cognitive-behavioural therapy for adult anxiety disorders such as dental phobia.

We are now extending this work through medical record linkage. The NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service was launched around 10 years ago, and includes weekly ratings of depression and anxiety throughout treatment. We are working with colleagues in several different studies to connect prior data, genetic data and IAPT records.

Key papers:

1. Hudson*, J. L., Keers*, R., Roberts, S., Coleman, J. R. I., Breen, G., ... Lester, K. J., Eley, T. C. (2015). Clinical Predictors of Response to Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Pediatric Anxiety Disorders: The Genes for Treatment (GxT) Study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 54, 454-463.

2. Keers, R., Coleman, J., Lester, K., Roberts, S., Breen, G., & Thastum, M., Bogels, S., Schneider, S., Heiervang, E., Meiser-Stedman, R., Nauta, M.H., Creswell, C., Thirlwall, K., Rapee, R.M., Hudson, J.L., Lewis, C., Plomin, R., Eley, T. C. (2016). A genome-wide test of the differential susceptibility hypothesis reveals a genetic predictor of differential response to psychological treatments for child anxiety disorders. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 85, 146-158.

3. Coleman, J. R. I., Lester, K. J., Keers, R., ... Breen, G. & Eley, T. C. (2016) Genome-wide association study of response to cognitive–behavioural therapy in children with anxiety disorders. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 209, 236-243.

4. McKinnon, A., Keers, R., Coleman, J. R. I., Lester, K. J., Roberts, S., Arendt, K., … Eley*, T.C., Hudson*, J. L. (2018). The impact of treatment delivery format on response to cognitive behaviour therapy for preadolescent children with anxiety disorders. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 59(7), 763–772. 

5. Rayner, C., Coleman, J. R. I., Purves, K. L., ... Breen, G., Eley, T. C. (2019). A genome-wide association meta-analysis of prognostic outcomes following cognitive behavioural therapy in individuals with anxiety and depressive disorders. Translational Psychiatry, 9(1), 150. 

Project status: Completed

Principal investigators

Thalia Eley profile pic

Thalia Eley

Professor of Developmental Behavioural Genetics


Gerome Breen IoPPN

Gerome Breen

Professor of Psychiatric Genetics

Cathy Creswell Oxford

Cathy Creswell

Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Oxford

Jennifer Hudson Genes for Treatment

Jennifer Hudson

Professor of Psychology, Macquarie University

Jurgen Margraf

Jürgen Margraf

Professor of Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, Ruhr-Universität Bochum


Contact Professor Thalia Eley for further information about this study: