Behavior Genetics

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 121–132 | Cite as

Continuity and Change in Preschool ADHD Symptoms: Longitudinal Genetic Analysis with Contrast Effects

  • Thomas S. PriceEmail author
  • Emily Simonoff
  • Philip Asherson
  • Sarah Curran
  • Jonna Kuntsi
  • Irwin Waldman
  • Robert Plomin


The genetic and environmental mediation of continuity and change in parent-reported ADHD symptoms were investigated in a cohort of over 6000 twin pairs at 2, 3 and 4 years of age. Genetic analyses of the cross-sectional data yielded heritability estimates of 0.78–0.81 at each age, with contrast effects. A common pathway model provided the best fit to the longitudinal data, indicating that genetic influences underlie 91% of the stable variance in ADHD symptomatology. In other words, what is stable for ADHD symptoms is largely genetic. Contrast effects acting in the same direction at different ages contributed to the observed continuity:longitudinal correlations were greater for dizygotic than monozygotic twins.


ADHD Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Child behavior disorders Genetics Twins 



Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder


Twins Early Development Study






dizygotic same sex


dizygotic opposite sex


Child Behavior Checklist


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas S. Price
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Emily Simonoff
    • 2
  • Philip Asherson
    • 2
  • Sarah Curran
    • 2
  • Jonna Kuntsi
    • 2
  • Irwin Waldman
    • 3
    • 4
  • Robert Plomin
    • 2
  1. 1.Wellcome Trust Centre for Human GeneticsUniversity of OxfordUK
  2. 2.Social, Developmental an Psychiatry Research CentreInstitute of PsychiatryLondonUK
  3. 3.Emory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  4. 4. Wellcome Trust Centre for Human GeneticsUniversity of OxfordUK

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