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GLAD: Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression

The GLAD Study is the largest anxiety and depression project ever undertaken. The study is part of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) BioResource. It is led by researchers at King’s College London, in collaboration with researchers at Ulster University, University of Edinburgh, and Cardiff University. GLAD was launched in September 2018, and over 20,000 participants have fully enrolled in the first year.

Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health disorders worldwide. One in three people will experience one of these conditions during their lifetime. Despite the availability of treatments, only half those treated recover fully. It is therefore important to gain a deeper understanding of these illnesses, and to work out which treatments work for whom and why.

The main aim of the study is to improve our understanding of the risk factors for depression and anxiety in order to find effective treatments and improve the lives of people experiencing these disorders. All participants agree to be contacted for future research studies, and we hope this will enable numerous other studies shedding light on factors relevant to the development and treatment of these conditions.

Recruitment takes place online. Anyone who has experienced clinical anxiety or depression during their lives who is willing to get involved in research can register on the website. They then complete the consent form, fill in our questionnaires and provide a saliva sample from which we collect their DNA.

By investigating the genetic influences on depression and anxiety, we hope to find effective treatments and improve the lives of people experiencing these disorders. 

Overview publication:

Davies, M. R., Kalsi, G., Armour, C., Jones, I., McIntosh, A., Smith, D. J., Beange, I., Brailean, A., Cleare, A. J., Coleman, J. R. I., Curtis, C. J., Curzons, S. C. B., Davis, K. A. S., Downey, L., Gault, V., Goldsmith, K. A., Hammond Bennett, M., Hirose, Y., Hotopf, M. H., Huebel, C. Leng, J., Mason, B. D., McAtarsney-Kovacs, M., Monssen, D., Palaiologou, E., Pariante, C. M., Parikh, S., Peel, A. J., Price, R., Rimes, K. A., Rogers, H. C., Skelton, M., Spaul, A., Almira Suarez, E. L., Sykes, B. L., Thomas, K., White, K. M., Young, A., Vassos, E., Veale, D., Wingrove, J., Eley, T. C. & Breen, G. D. (In press) The Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression (GLAD) Study: online recruitment into the largest recontactable study of depression and anxiety, Behaviour Research and Therapy. Advance online publication


Some examples of our work on the genetics of anxiety, depression and treatment seeking and treatment outcomes are provided below:

1. Coleman, J., Peyrot, W.J. Purves, K.L. …..Hotopf, M., Eley, T. C*., Breen*, G. (in press) Genome-wide gene-environment analyses of depression and reported lifetime traumatic experiences in UK Biobank. Molecular Psychiatry. Pre-print available on BioRxiv

2. Purves, K. L., Coleman, J. R. I., Meier, S.M., Rayner, C., Cheesman, R., ... Breen*, G., Eley, T. C*. (in press). The common genetic architecture of anxiety disorders. Molecular Psychiatry. Pre-print available on BioRxiv

3. Rayner, C., Coleman, J.R.I., Purves, K.L., Cheesman, R., Huebel, C., Gaspar, H.A., Glanville, K.P., Krebs, G.C., Morneau-Vaillancourt, G., Breen, G., Eley, T. C. (2019). Genetic influences on treatment-seeking for common mental health problems in the UK Biobank. Behaviour Research and Therapy. 

4. Keers, R., Coleman, J., Lester, K., Roberts, S., Breen, G., ... 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. 

    Project status: Ongoing
    GLAD 300x160

    Principal Investigators