Genetic and environmental influences on the covariation between hyperactivity and conduct disturbance in juvenile twins

J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1996 Oct;37(7):803-16. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.1996.tb01476.x.


Structural equation models were applied to the maternal ratings of 265 MZ and 163 DZ male-male, 347 MZ and 160 DZ female-female, and 262 male-female twin pairs, aged 8-16 years, who participated in the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioral Development (VTSABD). Substantial additive genetic influences and contrast effects were found for hyperactivity, and additive genetic and shared environmental effects or positive comparison effects (particularly for the girls) for oppositional/ conduct disturbance. Bivariate model fitting showed that the covariation between hyperactivity and oppositional/conduct problems in both younger and older boys and girls is almost entirely attributable to genetic factors. However, whereas in the younger males and females the same set of genes explain all the variation in hyperactivity and conduct disturbance, in the older cohort at least some of the genetic effects are behavior- and gender-specific.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / classification
  • Child Behavior Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / genetics
  • Comorbidity
  • Diseases in Twins*
  • Environment
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperkinesis / classification
  • Hyperkinesis / epidemiology*
  • Hyperkinesis / genetics
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Twins, Dizygotic
  • Twins, Monozygotic
  • Virginia / epidemiology