European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 17, Issue 8, pp 473–483

A twin study investigating the genetic and environmental aetiologies of parent, teacher and child ratings of autistic-like traits and their overlap


DOI: 10.1007/s00787-008-0689-5

Cite this article as:
Ronald, A., Happé, F. & Plomin, R. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry (2008) 17: 473. doi:10.1007/s00787-008-0689-5


In the present study we investigated phenotypic agreement between informants (parent, teacher and child self-report) on ratings of autistic-like traits and compared the genetic and environmental aetiologies of the informants’ ratings and of their covariance. Parents and teachers of >2,500 pairs from a community twin sample completed an abbreviated Childhood Asperger Syndrome Test (CAST). The twins also completed an adapted self-report version of the CAST. Structural equation model-fitting was carried out. Correlations between raters were significant but moderate (0.16–0.33). The magnitude of heritability estimates of autistic-like traits varied across raters, being highest for parent-rated autistic-like traits (82–87%) and more modest for child self-reported autistic-like traits (36–47%). Genetic overlap was significant but moderate across all raters. These findings are discussed in relation to population screening for autism and future genetic research.


autistic traits autism raters twins behaviour 

Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angelica Ronald
    • 1
  • Francesca Happé
    • 1
  • Robert Plomin
    • 1
  1. 1.Social Genetic and Developmental, Psychiatry (SGDP) CentreInstitute of PsychiatryLondonUK

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