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Gene-Environment Interactions in Developmental Psychopathology


Admission requirements

MSc Psychology (research) students


Family and twin studies support a hereditary contribution to psychopathological disorders (e.g., depression, conduct disorder, social phobia), and they also provide evidence for a contribution of environmental factors. Some candidate genes have been put forward but the explained variance of these genes is very low or even absent. It is, however, possible that genes are not directly related to psychopathology, but only in interaction with specific environmental factors.

Course objectives

  • Raising understanding of gene-environment interplay and how to design a gene-environment study.

  • Developing a critical attitude in reading papers.

  • Training in developing ideas for future studies.

  • Improving skills of discussing own ideas in the group and writing proposals for new studies.


Gene-Environment Interactions in Developmental Psychopathology (2012-2013):

Mode of instruction

Seven 2-hour sessions (weekly), each addressing one of a number of themes, based on recent empirical publications. In the first session(s) the general idea of gene-environment interaction will be introduced. The remaining sessions will contain student presentations and group discussions regarding a specific theme. Students are expected to prepare for each session by reading the listed papers (available via Blackboard) and by working on a research proposal.

Assessment method

The assessment is based on presentations, group discussions and an essay.

From January 1, 2006 the Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted the Ephorus system to be used by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud .


Information on

Reading list

Chapters 1 through 5 from: K.A. Dodge & M. Rutter (2011). Gene-environment interactions in developmental psychopathology. New York: The Guilford Press. (book is available via for €43,-)
Additional literature (reviews and empirical papers) will be made available via ‘Blackboard’.

Contact information

Dr. M.J.W. van der Molen
Room 3B43
071-527 6042