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Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy

Completed: Polygenic Risk Scores in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Survey


Project Description


Psychiatric genetics researchers have recently identified numerous genomic loci associated with schizophrenia, depression, autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other disorders. The identification of these genomic loci makes it possible to generate polygenic risk scores (PRS) to distinguish an individual’s risk for different psychiatric disorders compared to the general population.

The usual age of onset for most psychiatric disorders is during childhood, late adolescence, and early adulthood, with as many as 20% of children and adolescents in the U.S. diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. Numerous studies suggest that early intervention improves clinical outcomes, however, the average duration of untreated symptoms and disorders is generally in the order of years.

Thus, there is great need for tools such as PRS to help improve the identification of children and adolescents at higher risk for psychiatric disorders. The promise of reliable PRS in mental health care and prevention is considerable, but there are critical potential ethical and policy challenges.

The long-term goal of this research is to develop ethically-justified and empirically-informed guidelines and tools to address the ethical and policy challenges raised by the use of psychiatric PRS with children and adolescents. The objective of this supplement is to identify child and adolescent psychiatrists’ knowledge, practices, attitudes, expectations, and perceived benefits and risks about the use of psychiatric PRS.

Supported by: K99/R00HG008689, grant funding by National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health.


Project Personnel






Lazaro-Munoz, Munoz, K., Soda, T., Austin, J., Sanchez, C., Torgerson, L., Small, B., Storch, E., & Pereira, S. (2021). Polygenic Risk Scores in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: U.S. Clinicians' Practices Knowledge, and Attitudes. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 51, e21–e21.

Soda, Pereira, S., Small, B. J., Torgerson, L. N., Muñoz, K. A., Austin, J., Storch, E. A., & Lázaro-Muñoz, G. (2021). Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists’ Perceptions of Utility and Self-rated Knowledge of Genetic Testing Predict Usage for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 60(6), 657–660.




Polygenic Risk Scores in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: U.S. Clinicians’ Practices, Knowledge, and Attitudes.  World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics; Virtual. Lazaro-Munoz G, Munoz K, Soda T, Austin J, Sanchez C, Torgerson L, Small B, Storch E, & Pereira S (2021).

Knowledge and Perceptions of Utility by Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists are Barriers to Genetic Testing for Autism. World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics; Virtual. Soda T, Pereira S, Torgerson L, Muñoz K, Small B, Austin J, Storch E, Lázaro-Muñoz G (2020).