The “Genes for Treatment” study is an international multi-site collaboration involving 15 institutions from Australia, UK, Europe and the US including Macquarie University. The international collaboration is a world first in the field of child mental health having led to the largest sample of children with anxiety disorders (n=1,519). Macquarie University’s Centre for Emotional Health is the primary treatment site for the study with the majority of data being collected through the Centre’s clinic over the past eight years.
Macquarie’s team has worked to address the significant limitations in understanding treatments for children with anxiety disorders and identifying genetic and clinical predictors of treatment response. Led by Macquarie’s Professor Jennie Hudson, the research has been able to identify individual characteristics that predict poorer outcomes following psychological therapy. Professor Hudson’s work has discovered convincing results that allow the identification of which children do not respond favourably to treatment. The study suggests that children with social fears, additional non-anxiety’ disorders (such as depression) and children of parents with mental health problems have poorer outcomes following treatment.