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    The genetic overlap of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Autistic-like traits: an investigation of individual symptom scales and cognitive markers

    Pinto, R. and Rijsdijk, F. and Ronald, Angelica and Asherson, P. and Kuntsi, J. (2016) The genetic overlap of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Autistic-like traits: an investigation of individual symptom scales and cognitive markers. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 44 (2), pp. 335-345. ISSN 0091-0627.

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    Abstract

    Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) frequently co-occur. However, due to previous exclusionary diagnostic criteria, little is known about the underlying causes of this covariation. Twin studies assessing ADHD symptoms and autistic-like traits (ALTs) suggest substantial genetic overlap, but have largely failed to take into account the genetic heterogeneity of symptom subscales. This study aimed to clarify the phenotypic and genetic relations between ADHD and ASD by distinguishing between symptom subscales that characterise the two disorders. Moreover, we aimed to investigate whether ADHD-related cognitive impairments show a relationship with ALT symptom subscales; and whether potential shared cognitive impairments underlie the genetic risk shared between the ADHD and ALT symptoms. Multivariate structural equation modelling was conducted on a population-based sample of 1312 twins aged 7–10. Social-communication ALTs correlated moderately with both ADHD symptom domains (phenotypic correlations around 0.30) and showed substantial genetic overlap with both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity (genetic correlation = 0.52 and 0.44, respectively). In addition to previously reported associations with ADHD traits, reaction time variability (RTV) showed significant phenotypic (0.18) and genetic (0.32) association with social-communication ALTs. RTV captured a significant proportion (24 %) of the genetic influences shared between inattention and social-communication ALTs. Our findings suggest that social-communication ALTs underlie the previously observed phenotypic and genetic covariation between ALTs and ADHD symptoms. RTV is not specific to ADHD symptoms, but is also associated with social-communication ALTs and can, in part, contribute to an explanation of the co-occurrence of ASD and ADHD.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), Autistic-like traits (ALTs), Reaction time variability (RTV), Genetics
    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: 02 Oct 2015 09:28
    Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 11:55
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/13010

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