The past few years, research into the genetic and environmental factors influencing human well-being has grown extensively. However, to date, these two types of investigations have been relatively separate, hampering progress in these fields and in the improvement of well-being.
In an effort to unite these approaches we have initiated a large project to identify gene-(social)environment interplay for well-being. Based on the existing literature, we identified relevant social-environmental factors that influence well-being (e.g. income, neighborhood characteristics). We have started using these social-environmental factors to assign individuals to different groups (e.g. postal code). Next, by testing for genetic similarity across these different groups (e.g. are individuals who live in the same postal code genetically more similar than those living in a different postal code?), we are taking a first step in identifying potential interplay between genetic susceptibility and environmental risk factors. For these projects, we will be using data from the extensive databases of UK Biobank and the Netherlands Twin Register. Given the availability of genotype as well as extensive phenotype data in these databases, we will be able to test for genetic similarity for an substantial amount of environmental factors.