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    Strong genetic influences on the stability of autistic traits in childhood

    Holmboe, Karla and Rijsdijk, F. and Hallett, V. and Happé, F. and Plomin, R. and Ronald, Angelica (2014) Strong genetic influences on the stability of autistic traits in childhood. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 53 (2), pp. 221-230. ISSN 0890-8567.

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    Objective: Disorders on the autism spectrum, as well as autistic traits in the general population, have been found to be both highly stable across age and highly heritable at individual ages. However, little is known about the overlap in genetic and environmental influences on autistic traits across age and the contribution of such influences to trait stability itself. The present study investigated these questions in a general population sample of twins. Method: More than 6,000 twin pairs were rated on an established scale of autistic traits by their parents at 8, 9, and 12 years of age and by their teachers at 9 and 12 years of age. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Results: The results indicated that, consistently across raters, not only were autistic traits stable, and moderately to highly heritable at individual ages, there was also a high degree of overlap in genetic influences across age. Furthermore, autistic trait stability could largely be accounted for by genetic factors, with the environment unique to each twin playing a minor role. The environment shared by twins had virtually no effect on the longitudinal stability in autistic traits. Conclusions: Autistic traits are highly stable across middle childhood and this stability is caused primarily by genetic factors.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): autism spectrum disorder, autistic traits, behavior genetics, longitudinal, childhood
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Angelica Ronald
    Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2014 08:22
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:10


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