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Renzi, Chiara; Provencal, Nadine; Bassil, Katherine C.; Evers, Kathinka; Kihlbom, Ulrik; Radford, Elizabeth J.; Koupil, Ilona; Müller-Myhsok, Bertram; Hansson, Mats G.; Rutten, Bart P. F. (2018): From Epigenetic Associations to Biological and Psychosocial Explanations in Mental Health. In: Neuroepigenetics and Mental Illness, Vol. 158: pp. 299-323
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The development of mental disorders constitutes a complex phenomenon driven by unique social, psychological and biological factors such as genetics and epigenetics, throughout an individual's life course. Both environmental and genetic factors have an impact on mental health phenotypes and act simultaneously to induce changes in brain and behavior. Here, we describe and critically evaluate the current literature on gene-environment interactions and epigenetics on mental health by highlighting recent human and animal studies. We furthermore review some of the main ethical and social implications concerning gene-environment interactions and epigenetics and provide explanations and suggestions on how to move from statistical and epigenetic associations to biological and psychological explanations within a multi-disciplinary and integrative approach of understanding mental health.