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Increasing Relationship Between Negative Emotionality and Conduct Problems During Childhood: A Cross-Sectional Behavioral Genetic Analysis

  • Yoon-Mi Hur (a1), Sunyung Hwang (a2) and Un-Sun Chung (a2)

Abstract

Age difference in the etiology of the relationship between childhood negative emotionality (NE) and conduct problems (CP) has not been previously investigated. Mothers of 662 pairs of twins completed questions on the emotionality (NE) scale of the EAS temperament survey and the CP scale of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQ) via a telephone interview. Twin data were analyzed separately in younger (ages 3 to 7 years; mostly pre-schoolers) and older children (ages 8 to 13 years; mostly elementary school children). The phenotypic correlation between NE and CP increased from 0.33 among younger twins to 0.43 among older twins. Bivariate model-fitting analysis was performed to determine age difference in the etiology of the relationship between NE and CP. Among younger twins, the correlation between NE and CP was entirely explained by additive genetic factors common to NE and CP. Among older children, however, a small but significant amount of unique environmental correlation emerged to account for about 47% of the phenotypic correlation between NE and CP. The remaining 53% of the phenotypic correlation was due to shared additive genetic factors. We speculate that environmental factors associated with school adjustment may exert influences on the relationship between NE and CP among elementary school children.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

address for correspondence: Department of Psychiatry, Kyungpook National University Hospital, Daegu, South Korea.

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Twin Research and Human Genetics
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