Role of polygenic and environmental factors in the co-occurrence of depression and psychosis symptoms: a network analysis

Liliana Garcia-Mondragon, Deniz Konac, Joanne B. Newbury, Katherine S. Young, Alex Ing, Anna E. Fürtjes, Edward D. Barker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Depression and psychosis are often comorbid; they also have overlapping genetic and environmental risk factors, including trauma and area-level exposures. The present study aimed to advance understanding of this comorbidity via a network approach, by (1) identifying bridge nodes that connect clusters of lifetime depression and psychosis symptoms and (2) evaluating the influence of polygenic and environmental risk factors in these symptoms. This study included data from European ancestry participants in UK Biobank, a large population-based sample (N = 77,650). In Step 1, a network model identified bridge nodes between lifetime symptoms of depression and psychosis and functional impairment. In Step 2, genetic and environmental risk factors were incorporated to examine the degree to which symptoms associated with polygenic risk scores for depression and schizophrenia, lifetime exposure to trauma and area-level factors (including deprivation, air pollution and greenspace). Feelings of worthlessness, beliefs in unreal conspiracy against oneself, depression impairment and psychosis impairment emerged as bridges between depression and psychosis symptoms. Polygenic risk scores for depression and schizophrenia were predominantly linked with depression and psychosis impairment, respectively, rather than with specific symptoms. Cumulative trauma emerged as a bridge node associating deprivation with feelings of worthlessness and beliefs in unreal conspiracy, indicating that the experience of trauma is prominently linked with the co-occurrence of depression and psychosis symptoms related to negative views of oneself and others. These key symptoms and risk factors provide insights into the lifetime co-occurrence of depression and psychosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number259
JournalTranslational psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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