Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

The importance of a developmental perspective in Psychiatry: what do recent genetic epidemiological findings show?

Thapar, Anita ORCID: and Riglin, Lucy 2020. The importance of a developmental perspective in Psychiatry: what do recent genetic epidemiological findings show? Molecular Psychiatry 25 , pp. 1631-1639. 10.1038/s41380-020-0648-1

[thumbnail of s41380-020-0648-1.pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (651kB) | Preview


There is growing appreciation that a developmental perspective is helpful in Psychiatry. However, clinical practice and research, especially in an era of very large sample sizes, often ignore the developmental context. In this perspective piece, we discuss why a developmental view is important in Psychiatry and how recent genetic-epidemiological findings further highlight this. DSM-5 childhood neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD, typically onset in early childhood but can persist into adult life; the same ADHD genetic loading appears to contribute across the life course. However, recent longitudinal studies have observed that ADHD symptoms may emerge later during adolescence and adult life in some individuals although the etiology of this late-onset group is unclear. The epidemiology and genetics of depression do not appear to be the same in childhood, adolescence, and adult life. Recent genetic findings further highlight this. Autistic type problems and irritability also appear to show developmental variation in their genetic etiology. These findings raise the question of whether social communication and irritability have the same meaning at different ages. Schizophrenia typically onsets after adolescence. However, it is commonly preceded by childhood antecedents that do not resemble schizophrenia itself but do appear to index schizophrenia genetic liability. We conclude that there is a need for clinicians and scientists to adopt a developmental perspective in clinical practice and research by considering age-at-onset and changes over time as well as different developmental periods when interpreting clinical symptoms.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 1359-4184
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 December 2019
Date of Acceptance: 29 November 2019
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 12:33

Citation Data

Cited 45 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics