Behavior Genetics

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 321–334 | Cite as

Genetic and Environmental Causes of Covariation in Interview Assessments of Disruptive Behavior in Child and Adolescent Twins

  • Lindon Eaves
  • Michael Rutter
  • Judy L. Silberg
  • Lucinda Shillady
  • Hermine Maes
  • Andrew Pickles


Multirater, face-to-face, interview data relating to conduct disorder (CD), oppositional-defiant disorder (ODD), and inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive components of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a population-based sample of 1376 pairs of 8- to 16-year-old MZ and DZ twins are analyzed to examine (1) the genetic and environmental causes of correlation among ratings of ODD and CD symptoms and (2) the pattern of genetic and environmental correlation among the three components of ADHD. Parental ratings of ADHD showed marked sibling contrast effects, specific within raters but partly common across components. After these effects were removed, there was a modest genetic correlation between maternal and paternal ratings, but genetic effects were virtually uncorrelated across boys and girls. Genetic correlations among inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity were all large but fell well short of unity. There was little evidence that counts of symptoms of CD and ODD were genetically independent but the genetic correlations among ratings of twins, mothers, and fathers were all relatively modest. ODD and CD showed much higher genetic correlations across sexes than did the measures of ADHD. There was no evidence of rater contrast effects or of shared family environment influences in the twin resemblance for ODD and CD.

Conduct disorder oppositional-defiant disorder attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder disruptive behavior twins comorbidity heterogeneity sibling contrast 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lindon Eaves
    • 1
  • Michael Rutter
    • 2
  • Judy L. Silberg
    • 1
  • Lucinda Shillady
    • 1
  • Hermine Maes
    • 1
  • Andrew Pickles
    • 3
  1. 1.Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral GeneticsVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmond
  2. 2.Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Research CentreInstitute of PsychiatryLondonEngland
  3. 3.The School of Epidemiology and Health ScienceUniversity of ManchesterManchesterEngland

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