The Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression (GLAD) Study: Online recruitment into the largest recontactable study of depression and anxiety

Molly R Davies, Gursharan Kalsi, Cherie Armour, Ian Jones, Andrew McIntosh, Daniel J Smith, James T.R. Walters, John R. Bradley, Nathalie Kingston, Sofie Ashford, Ioana Beange, Anamaria Brailean, Anthony James Cleare, Jonathan Richard Iain Coleman, Charles John Curtis, Susannah Chloe Bailey Curzons, Katrina Alice Southworth Davis, LeRoy Downey, Victor Gault, Kimberley Ann GoldsmithMegan Hammond Bennett, Yoriko Hirose, Matthew Hugo Hotopf, Christopher Huebel, Jennifer Leng, Bethany D Mason, Monika McAtarsney-Kovacs, Dina Monssen, Elisavet Palaiologou, Carmine Maria Pariante, Shivani Parikh, Alicia Peel, Ruth Price, Katharine Amber Rimes, Henry Charles Rogers, Megan Skelton, Anna Spaul, Eddy Leandro Almira Suarez, Bronte L Sykes, Keith Thomas, Allan Young, Evangelos Vassos, David Veale, Katie May White, Janet Wingrove, Thalia Catherine Eley, Gerome Daniel Breen

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Background: Anxiety and depression are common, debilitating and costly. These disorders are influenced by multiple risk factors, from genes to psychological vulnerabilities and environmental stressors, but research is hampered by a lack of sufficiently large comprehensive studies. We are recruiting 40,000 individuals with lifetime depression or anxiety and broad assessment of risks to facilitate future research. Methods: The Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression (GLAD) Study ( recruits individuals with depression or anxiety into the NIHR Mental Health BioResource. Participants invited to join the study (via media campaigns) provide demographic, environmental and genetic data, and consent for medical record linkage and recontact. Results: Online recruitment was effective; 42,531 participants consented and 27,776 completed the questionnaire by end of July 2019. Participants’ questionnaire data identified very high rates of recurrent depression, severe anxiety, and comorbidity. Participants reported high rates of treatment receipt. The age profile of the sample is biased toward young adults, with higher recruitment of females and the more educated, especially at younger ages. Discussion: This paper describes the study methodology and descriptive data for GLAD, which represents a large, recontactable resource that will enable future research into risks, outcomes, and treatment for anxiety and depression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103503
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Early online date24 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Anxiety
  • Behavior genetics
  • Data sharing
  • Depression
  • Life events
  • Psychiatric genetics


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