Author ORCID Identifier

ORCID # 000-002-7291-1431

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Clinical and Translational Sciences

First Advisor

John M. Hettema

Second Advisor

Roxann Roberson-Nay

Third Advisor

Nathan Gillespie

Fourth Advisor

Michael A. Southam-Gerow

Fifth Advisor

Elizabeth C. Prom-Wormley

Sixth Advisor

Brad Verhulst


Psychiatric genetics is a basic science field that has potential for practical application and effective translation. To date, translational frameworks utilized by this field have been linear (e.g., sequential) in nature, focusing on molecular genetic information. It is proposed that non-linear (e.g., socio-ecological) frameworks are a better way to immediately translate non-molecular genetic information. This dissertation explored the translation of psychiatric genetic information in two ways. First, a survey was sent to academic stakeholders to assess the state of the science regarding the translation of genetic information to the clinical care of mental health disorders. Findings from this indicate a translation-genetic competence gap whereby genetic knowledge reinforces linear frameworks and genetic competence is needed to achieve effective translation in this content area. Second, a new risk factor model for social anxiety was created that incorporated genetic, environmental, and neurophysiological risk factors (behavioral inhibition, parental bonding, emotion reactivity). Findings indicate that genetic etiology is more informative knowledge that can influence risk factor models and possibly prevention and intervention efforts for social anxiety. Overall this dissertation paves the way for examining the translational capacity of psychiatric genetics in a clinical setting. It constitutes the first examination of barriers to and a potential solution for the most effective translation of psychiatric genetic information.


© Jessica L. Bourdon

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission