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Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2004 May;61(5):489-96.

Conduct problems in children and adolescents: a twin study.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Wales College of Medicine, Heath Park, Cardiff. scourfieldj@cardiff.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Evidence supports a genetic influence on conduct problems as a continuous measure of behavior and as a diagnostic category. However, there is a lack of studies using a genetically informative design combined with several different informants and different settings.

OBJECTIVES:

To examine genetic and environmental influences on conduct problems rated by parent and teacher reports and self-reports and to determine whether their ratings reflect a common underlying phenotype.

DESIGN:

A twin study design was used to examine conduct problem scores from ratings by teachers, parents, and twins themselves.

SETTING:

General community.

PARTICIPANTS:

Twins aged 5 to 17 years participating in the Cardiff Study of All Wales and North England Twins (CaStANET) project.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Conduct problem scale from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.

RESULTS:

Conduct problem scores were significantly heritable based on parent and teacher reports and self-reports. Combining data from all 3 informants showed that they are rating a common underlying phenotype of pervasive conduct problems that is entirely genetic, while teacher ratings show separate genetic influences that are not shared with other raters.

CONCLUSIONS:

Conduct problems are significantly heritable based on parent and teacher reports and self-reports, and are also influenced by environmental effects that impinge uniquely on children from the same family. There is a cross-situational conduct problems' phenotype, underlying the behavior measured by all informants, that is wholly genetic in origin. No significant influence of shared environmental effects was found.

PMID:
15123494
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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