Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 41, Issue 12, pp 1665-1674

First online:

The Nature of Covariation Between Autistic Traits and Clumsiness: A Twin Study in a General Population Sample

  • Sara MoruzziAffiliated withThe Academic Centre for the Study of Behavioural Plasticity, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University
  • , Anna OgliariAffiliated withThe Academic Centre for the Study of Behavioural Plasticity, Vita-Salute San Raffaele UniversityIstituto Scientifico San Raffaele Email author 
  • , Angelica RonaldAffiliated withDepartment of Psychological Sciences, Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London
  • , Francesca HappéAffiliated withMRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London
  • , Marco BattagliaAffiliated withThe Academic Centre for the Study of Behavioural Plasticity, Vita-Salute San Raffaele UniversityIstituto Scientifico San RaffaeleThe Department of Child Psychiatry, Istituto Scientifico Eugenio Medea

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Abstract

While social impairment, difficulties with communication, and restricted repetitive behaviors are central features of Autism Spectrum Disorders, physical clumsiness is a commonly co-occuring feature. In a sample of 398 twin pairs (aged 8–17 years) from the Italian Twin Registry we investigated the nature of the co-variation between a psychometric index of Clumsiness and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) Autistic scale. Bivariate twin analyses showed that a genetic etiological overlap, rather than direct causation, is a plausible explanation for the association between clumsiness and autistic-like traits, as measured by indices derived from the parent-rated CBCL scale. Additive genetic influences that impinge upon clumsiness/motor problem and autistic-like traits coincided remarkably, with a genetic correlation of 0.63.

Keywords

Clumsiness Autistic traits CBCL Comorbidity Twin study