Predicting psychological treatment response from genetic markers
Therapygenetics refers to the prediction of psychological therapy outcomes from genetic markers. The rationale for this research derives from the gene–environment interaction literature, which has shown that individual differences in susceptibility to the environment are at least partly due to genetic variation for a wide range of phenotypes. While initially framed within the context of the diathesis-stress model, this idea has since been developed in a number of ways. Most notably, some genetic markers that place an individual at risk of a poor outcome following a stressful event may reflect environmental susceptibility markers, and thus may also enhance the likelihood of an individual benefiting from a positive environment, including psychological intervention. This chapter reviews the current evidence from candidate gene and genome-wide association studies that genetic factors can explain individual differences in response to psychological therapy. As this is a field in its infancy, future directions and opportunities are outlined. Following an initial discussion on the need to move toward a “therapygenomics” approach utilizing genome-wide methodologies, the importance of identifying mechanisms underlying associations between genes and psychological therapy outcomes is outlined. Finally, the possible future clinical implications of therapygenetics work, both scientific and ethical, are considered.
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