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    Where are the strongest associations between autistic traits and traits of ADHD? Evidence from a community-based twin study

    Taylor, M.J. and Charman, T. and Ronald, Angelica (2015) Where are the strongest associations between autistic traits and traits of ADHD? Evidence from a community-based twin study. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 24 (9), pp. 1129-1138. ISSN 1018-8827.

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    Abstract

    Autism spectrum conditions (ASC) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) regularly co-occur. Twin studies increasingly indicate that these conditions may have overlapping genetic causes. Less is known about the degree to which specific autistic traits relate to specific behaviours characteristic of ADHD. We hence tested, using the classical twin design, whether specific dimensional autistic traits, including social difficulties, communication atypicalities and repetitive behaviours, would display differential degrees of aetiological overlap with specific traits of ADHD, including hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention. Parents of approximately 4,000 pairs of 12-year-old twins completed the Childhood Autism Spectrum Test and Conners' Parent Rating Scale. These measures were divided into subscales corresponding to different types of autistic and ADHD behaviours. Twin model fitting suggested that the degree of genetic overlap was particularly strong between communication difficulties and traits of ADHD (genetic correlations = .47-.51), while repetitive behaviours and social difficulties showed moderate (genetic correlations = .12-.33) and modest (.05-.11) genetic overlap respectively. Environmental overlap was low across all subscales (correlations = .01-.23). These patterns were also apparent at the extremes of the general population, with communication difficulties showing the highest genetic overlap with traits of ADHD. These findings indicate that molecular genetic studies seeking to uncover the shared genetic basis of ASC and ADHD would benefit from taking a symptom-specific approach. Furthermore, they could also help to explain why studies of the communication abilities of individuals with ASC and ADHD have produced overlapping findings.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Autism, ADHD, Twin study, Genetics, Comorbidity
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Research Centre: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Angelica Ronald
    Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2015 11:38
    Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 11:55
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/11894

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