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Childhood attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder as an extreme of a continuous trait: a quantitative genetic study of 8,500 twin pairs
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm; Karolinska Institutet Center for Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Stockholm.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6851-3297
Department of Forensic Psychiatry, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgren’s Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg.
Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm.
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2012 (English)In: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, ISSN 0021-9630, E-ISSN 1469-7610, Vol. 53, no 1, 73-80 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Although the clinical utility of categorically defined attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is well established, there is also strong evidence supporting the notion of ADHD as an extreme of a continuous trait. Nevertheless, the question of whether the etiology is the same for different levels of DSM-IV ADHD symptoms remains to be investigated. The aim of this study was to assess genetic links between the extreme and the subthreshold range of ADHD symptoms.

METHOD: Parents of all Swedish 9- and 12-year-old twins born between 1992 and 2000 were interviewed for DSM-IV ADHD symptoms and associated conditions. Two validated cutoff values were used for screening and assigning research diagnoses. Response rate was 80%. Twin methods were applied to investigate the extent to which ADHD is etiologically distinct from subthreshold variations in ADHD symptoms.

RESULTS: Extremes analyses indicated a strong genetic link between the extreme and the subthreshold variation, with almost identical group heritability estimates around .60 for the diagnostic (prevalence 1.78%) and screening (prevalence 9.75%) criteria of ADHD.

CONCLUSION: A strong genetic link between the extreme and the subthreshold variation of DSM-IV based assessments of ADHD symptoms was found. The data suggest that ADHD is best viewed as the quantitative extreme of genetic and environmental factors operating dimensionally throughout the distribution of ADHD symptoms, indicating that the same etiologic factors are involved in the full range of symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Vol. 53, no 1, 73-80 p.
Keyword [en]
ADHD; DSM; etiology; twins
National Category
Psychology Psychiatry
Research subject
Psychology; Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-54516DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2011.02467.xISI: 000298003300010PubMedID: 21923806Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-82955203855OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-54516DiVA: diva2:1064303
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and WelfareSwedish Research Council, 2010-3184The Swedish Brain Foundation
Note

Funding Agency:

Karolinska Institutet center of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Available from: 2017-01-12 Created: 2017-01-12 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved

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