Genetic and environmental etiology of the relationship between childhood hyperactivity/inattention and conduct problems in a South Korean twin sample.


Recently, there has been increased research into the etiology of the comorbidity between hyperactivity/inattention problems (HIP) and conduct problems (CP). However, the nature of the etiology of the comorbidity has remained unclear. Mothers of 507 pairs of twins, comprised of 221 monozygotic (MZ) and 286 dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs aged from 6 to 13 years (mean = 9.6 years; SD = 2.0 years), completed the HIP and the CP scale of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) via a telephone interview. The phenotypic correlation between HIP and CP was 0.43 (p < .01). MZ and DZ twin correlations were, respectively, 0.48 (95%CI: 0.37-0.58) and 0.06 (95%CI: -0.06-0.19) for HIP and 0.38 (95%CI: 0.26-0.49) and 0.35 (95%CI: 0.25-0.45) for CP. The bivariate model-fitting results revealed additive genetic correlation of 1.0 (95% CI: 0.72-1.00), a complete overlap of additive genetic variance component between HIP and CP, supporting the importance of correlated additive genetic risk factors for the comorbid condition of HIP and CP. HIP was additionally influenced by non-additive genetic factors that did not contribute to the relationship between HIP and CP. There was a significant but moderate child-specific environmental correlation (re = 0.37) between HIP and CP. CP was additionally influenced by shared family environmental influences. While the results of the present study are generally consistent with the findings from Western twin studies of the relationship between HIP and CP, they add a new finding to the extant literature by showing that it is additive rather than non-additive genetic factors that are responsible for the co-occurrence of HIP and CP.