A polygenic p factor for major psychiatric disorders

TitleA polygenic p factor for major psychiatric disorders
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSelzam, S, Coleman, JRI, Caspi, A, Moffitt, TE, Plomin, R
JournalTranslational psychiatry
Pagination205205 - 205
Date Published2018/10/02
ISBN Number2158-3188

It has recently been proposed that a single dimension, called the p factor, can capture a person's liability to mental disorder. Relevant to the p hypothesis, recent genetic research has found surprisingly high genetic correlations between pairs of psychiatric disorders. Here, for the first time, we compare genetic correlations from different methods and examine their support for a genetic p factor. We tested the hypothesis of a genetic p factor by applying principal component analysis to matrices of genetic correlations between major psychiatric disorders estimated by three methods-family study, genome-wide complex trait analysis, and linkage-disequilibrium score regression-and on a matrix of polygenic score correlations constructed for each individual in a UK-representative sample of 7 026 unrelated individuals. All disorders loaded positively on a first unrotated principal component, which accounted for 57, 43, 35, and 22% of the variance respectively for the four methods. Our results showed that all four methods provided strong support for a genetic p factor that represents the pinnacle of the hierarchical genetic architecture of psychopathology.

Short TitleTransl Psychiatry