Internalizing disorders (ID) represent the largest domain of emotional disturbances that affect the general population. In recent years, significant effort has been put into examining and defining basic dimensions of functioning (e.g., neural or physiologic) that cut across internalizing disorders as traditionally defined by current nosology. Thus, the goal of the current study is to examine relationships between measures constructed to probe negative valence system (NVS) expression (e.g., fear, anhedonia) in a genetically informative adolescent twin sample. This design allows for the examination of the interplay between genetic and environmental factors as a way of elucidating causal mechanisms involved in the NVS and the role the NVS plays in pathways to internalizing symptoms and syndromes. Within this design we will administer an informative suite of well-validated dimensional measures that tap into the NVS, focusing on five related constructs including anxiety, fear, stress, sadness/anhedonia, and irritability. The influence of genes on psychopathology changes such that different developmental stages are associated with a unique pattern of risk factors representing a dynamic interplay between development, genes, and environment. For this reason, we will target a critical developmental period, focusing on the transition that begins during the late teen years and proceeds into young adulthood. This transition will involve moving away from home/family and established peer networks for approximately half of the general population. For these individuals, a number of significant environmental changes will occur that will impact their emotional functioning and trajectory of internalizing symptom expression. Thus, measuring NVS before this unique developmental period from a genetically informed perspective is ideal for determining the shared and specific contributions of genes and environment to NVS expression and its influence on ID development.

Public Health Relevance

The high prevalence of internalizing disorders (ID) makes them a significant public health burden in the US. Many internalizing problems begin during childhood and adolescence, but little is known about the mechanisms by which they affect some persons but not others. This study will take a genetically informed approach to understand latent genetic and environmental factors involved in the negative valence systems domain and its contribution to internalizing pathways, with outcomes bolstering our understanding of measureable risk factors and knowledge for prevention and treatment efforts.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1)
Program Officer
Murphy, Eric Rousseau
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Virginia Commonwealth University
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Eastman, Meridith L; Moore, Ashlee A; Cecilione, Jennifer et al. (2018) Confirmatory factor structure and psychometric properties of the Multidimensional Peer Victimization Scale. J Psychopathol Behav Assess 40:725-735
Bourdon, Jessica L; Moore, Ashlee A; Eastman, Meridith et al. (2018) Resting Heart Rate Variability (HRV) in Adolescents and Young Adults from a Genetically-Informed Perspective. Behav Genet :
Hawn, Sage E; Sheerin, Christina M; Webb, Bradley T et al. (2018) Replication of the Interaction of PRKG1 and Trauma Exposure on Alcohol Misuse in an Independent African American Sample. J Trauma Stress 31:927-932
Eastman, Meridith L; Verhulst, Brad; Rappaport, Lance M et al. (2018) Age-Related Differences in the Structure of Genetic and Environmental Contributions to Types of Peer Victimization. Behav Genet 48:421-431
Cecilione, Jennifer L; Rappaport, Lance M; Hahn, Shannon E et al. (2018) Genetic and Environmental Contributions of Negative Valence Systems to Internalizing Pathways. Twin Res Hum Genet 21:12-23
Sheerin, Christina M; Lind, Mackenzie J; Brown, Emily A et al. (2018) The impact of resilience and subsequent stressful life events on MDD and GAD. Depress Anxiety 35:140-147
Lind, Mackenzie J; Hawn, Sage E; Sheerin, Christina M et al. (2017) An examination of the etiologic overlap between the genetic and environmental influences on insomnia and common psychopathology. Depress Anxiety 34:453-462
Sheerin, Christina M; Lind, Mackenzie J; Bountress, Kaitlin et al. (2017) The Genetics and Epigenetics of PTSD: Overview, Recent Advances, and Future Directions. Curr Opin Psychol 14:5-11
Moore, Ashlee A; Carney, Dever; Moroney, Elizabeth et al. (2017) The Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits (ICU) in Children: Reliability and Heritability. Behav Genet 47:141-151
Savage, Jeanne E; Sawyers, Chelsea; Roberson-Nay, Roxann et al. (2017) The genetics of anxiety-related negative valence system traits. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 174:156-177

Showing the most recent 10 out of 19 publications