Mice lacking DIX domain containing-1 (DIXDC1), an intracellular Wnt/β-catenin signal pathway protein, have abnormal measures of anxiety, depression and social behavior. Pyramidal neurons in these animals’ brains have reduced dendritic spines and glutamatergic synapses. Treatment with lithium or a glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3) inhibitor corrects behavioral and neurodevelopmental phenotypes in these animals. Analysis of DIXDC1 in over 9000 cases of autism, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia reveals higher rates of rare inherited sequence-disrupting single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) in these individuals compared with psychiatrically unaffected controls. Many of these SNVs alter Wnt/β-catenin signaling activity of the neurally predominant DIXDC1 isoform; a subset that hyperactivate this pathway cause dominant neurodevelopmental effects. We propose that rare missense SNVs in DIXDC1 contribute to psychiatric pathogenesis by reducing spine and glutamatergic synapse density downstream of GSK3 in the Wnt/β-catenin pathway.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 18 October 2016; doi:10.1038/mp.2016.184.