Gene-environment interaction study on the polygenic risk score for neuroticism, childhood adversity, and parental bonding

Boris Klingenberg, Sinan Guloksuz, Lotta Katrin Pries, Ozan Cinar, Claudia Menne-Lothmann, Jeroen Decoster, Ruud Van Winkel, Dina Collip, Philippe Delespaul, Marc De Hert, Catherine Derom, Evert Thiery, Nele Jacobs, Marieke Wichers, Bochao D. Lin, Jurjen Luykx, Jim Van Os, Bart P.F. Rutten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The present study examines whether neuroticism is predicted by genetic vulnerability, summarized as polygenic risk score for neuroticism (PRSN), in interaction with bullying, parental bonding, and childhood adversity. Data were derived from a general population adolescent and young adult twin cohort. The final sample consisted of 202 monozygotic and 436 dizygotic twins and 319 twin pairs. The Short Eysenck Personality questionnaire was used to measure neuroticism. PRSN was trained on the results from the Genetics of Personality Consortium (GPC) and United Kingdom Biobank (UKB) cohorts, yielding two different PRSN. Multilevel mixed-effects models were used to analyze the main and interacting associations of PRSN, childhood adversity, bullying, and parental bonding style with neuroticism. We found no evidence of gene-environment correlation. PRSN thresholds of.005 and.2 were chosen, based on GPC and UKB datasets, respectively. After correction for confounders, all the individual variables were associated with the expression of neuroticism: both PRSN from GPC and UKB, childhood adversity, maternal bonding, paternal bonding, and bullying in primary school and secondary school. However, the results indicated no evidence for gene-environment interaction in this cohort. These results suggest that genetic vulnerability on the one hand and negative life events (childhood adversity and bullying) and positive life events (optimal parental bonding) on the other represent noninteracting pathways to neuroticism.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere5
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPersonality Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Endophenotype
  • Environment
  • Genetics
  • Neuroticism
  • Personality


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