Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 41, Issue 12, pp 1665–1674 | Cite as

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

  • Sara Moruzzi
  • Anna OgliariEmail author
  • Angelica Ronald
  • Francesca Happé
  • Marco Battaglia
Original Paper


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.


Clumsiness Autistic traits CBCL Comorbidity Twin study 



We thank all children and parents for their participation to this study. The database for this paper was collected with the collaboration of the Italian Twin Registry, under the direction of Dr. M. A. Stazi. We thank Leslie Rescorla, PhD, for support and suggestions on the CBCL Autistic scale, and three anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful comments on the first draft of this article. This study was supported in part by COFIN 2001 and PRIN 2006061953 grants, and Italian Ministry of Health 2002 and 2009 Strategic Research grants to M. Battaglia. The first author of this paper is in the San Raffaele University Developmental Psychopathology Ph D Program, supported in part by the CARIPLO Foundation ‘Human Talents’ Grant for Academic Centres of Excellence in Post-Graduate Teaching (Dr. Battaglia recipient).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Moruzzi
    • 1
  • Anna Ogliari
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Angelica Ronald
    • 3
  • Francesca Happé
    • 4
  • Marco Battaglia
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.The Academic Centre for the Study of Behavioural PlasticityVita-Salute San Raffaele UniversityMilanItaly
  2. 2.Istituto Scientifico San RaffaeleMilanItaly
  3. 3.Department of Psychological Sciences, Centre for Brain and Cognitive DevelopmentBirkbeck, University of LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of PsychiatryKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  5. 5.The Department of Child PsychiatryIstituto Scientifico Eugenio MedeaBosisio PariniItaly

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