A major role for common genetic variation in anxiety disorders. Academic Article uri icon


  • Anxiety disorders are common, complex psychiatric disorders with twin heritabilities of 30-60%. We conducted a genome-wide association study of Lifetime Anxiety Disorder (ncase=25453, ncontrol=58113) and an additional analysis of Current Anxiety Symptoms (ncase=19012, ncontrol=58113). The liability scale common variant heritability estimate for Lifetime Anxiety Disorder was 26%, and for Current Anxiety Symptoms was 31%. Five novel genome-wide significant loci were identified including an intergenic region on chromosome 9 that has previously been associated with neuroticism, and a locus overlapping the BDNF receptor gene, NTRK2. Anxiety showed significant positive genetic correlations with depression and insomnia as well as coronary artery disease, mirroring findings from epidemiological studies. We conclude that common genetic variation accounts for a substantive proportion of the genetic architecture underlying anxiety.

published proceedings

  • Mol Psychiatry

altmetric score

  • 150.258

author list (cited authors)

  • Purves, K. L., Coleman, J., Meier, S. M., Rayner, C., Davis, K., Cheesman, R., ... Eley, T. C.

citation count

  • 141

complete list of authors

  • Purves, Kirstin L||Coleman, Jonathan RI||Meier, Sandra M||Rayner, Christopher||Davis, Katrina AS||Cheesman, Rosa||Bækvad-Hansen, Marie||Børglum, Anders D||Wan Cho, Shing||Jürgen Deckert, J||Gaspar, Héléna A||Bybjerg-Grauholm, Jonas||Hettema, John M||Hotopf, Matthew||Hougaard, David||Hübel, Christopher||Kan, Carol||McIntosh, Andrew M||Mors, Ole||Bo Mortensen, Preben||Nordentoft, Merete||Werge, Thomas||Nicodemus, Kristin K||Mattheisen, Manuel||Breen, Gerome||Eley, Thalia C

publication date

  • December 2020