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The Enrichment Study of the Minnesota Twin Family Study: Increasing the Yield of Twin Families at High Risk for Externalizing Psychopathology

  • Margaret A. Keyes (a1), Stephen M. Malone (a2), Irene J. Elkins (a3), Lisa N. Legrand (a4), Matt McGue (a5) and William G. Iacono (a6)...

Abstract

The Enrichment Study (ES) was designed to extend the Minnesota Twin Family Study (MTFS) by oversampling 11-year-old twins at especially high risk for substance use disorders by virtue of having a childhood disruptive disorder. The sample was ascertained from Minnesota birth records. To identify high-risk twins, we conducted telephone screening interviews for parent-reported symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and conduct disorder (CD) as well as indications of academic disengagement. Twins who exceeded a predetermined threshold were invited to participate. To facilitate comparison with the previously ascertained MTFS participants, a random sample of 11-year-old twins was also recruited. As part of the ES study, 499 twin pairs, and their parents, visited the University of Minnesota, where each participant completed a clinical interview, psychophysiological evaluation, and thorough assessment of environmental risk. We were highly successful in recruiting at-risk twins; 52% of the screened male twins and 41% of the screened females met criteria for a diagnosis of ADHD, CD, or oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). At the pair level, 63% of the screened pairs had at least one member with a childhood disruptive disorder. This article provides an overview of the study design and includes a review of recent findings using this sample of twins.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Margaret Keyes, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, 75 East River Rd, Minneapolis, MN 55455.

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