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Autistic-like traits and their association with mental health problems in two nationwide twin cohorts of children and adults.

Lundström, Sebastian LU ; Chang, Z; Kerekes, Nora LU ; Gumpert, C H; Råstam, Maria LU ; Gillberg, C; Lichtenstein, P and Anckarsäter, Henrik LU (2011) In Psychological Medicine 41(11). p.2423-2433
Abstract
BACKGROUND: Autistic-like traits (ALTs), that is restrictions in intuitive social interaction, communication and flexibility of interests and behaviors, were studied in two population-based Swedish twin studies, one in children and one in adults: (1) to examine whether the variability in ALTs is a meaningful risk factor for concomitant attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, conduct problems, depression and substance abuse, and (2) to assess whether common genetic and environmental susceptibilities can help to explain co-existence of ALTs and traits associated with such concomitant problems.MethodTwo nationwide twin cohorts from Sweden (consisting of 11 222 children and 18 349 adults) were assessed by DSM-based symptom... (More)
BACKGROUND: Autistic-like traits (ALTs), that is restrictions in intuitive social interaction, communication and flexibility of interests and behaviors, were studied in two population-based Swedish twin studies, one in children and one in adults: (1) to examine whether the variability in ALTs is a meaningful risk factor for concomitant attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, conduct problems, depression and substance abuse, and (2) to assess whether common genetic and environmental susceptibilities can help to explain co-existence of ALTs and traits associated with such concomitant problems.MethodTwo nationwide twin cohorts from Sweden (consisting of 11 222 children and 18 349 adults) were assessed by DSM-based symptom algorithms for autism. The twins were divided into six groups based on their degree of ALTs and the risk for concomitant mental health problems was calculated for each group. Genetic and environmental susceptibilities common to ALTs and the other problem types were examined using bivariate twin modeling. RESULTS: In both cohorts, even the lowest degree of ALTs increased the risk for all other types of mental health problems, and these risk estimates increased monotonically with the number of ALTs. For all conditions, common genetic and environmental factors could be discerned. Overall, the phenotypic correlation between ALTs and the traits examined were less pronounced in adulthood than in childhood and less affected by genetic compared with environmental factors. CONCLUSIONS: Even low-grade ALTs are relevant to clinical psychiatry as they increase the risk for several heterotypical mental health problems. The association is influenced partly by common genetic and environmental susceptibilities. Attention to co-existing ALTs is warranted in research on a wide range of mental disorders. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Psychological Medicine
volume
41
issue
11
pages
2423 - 2433
publisher
Cambridge University Press
external identifiers
  • wos:000296246300017
  • pmid:21426604
  • scopus:80054934048
ISSN
1469-8978
DOI
10.1017/S0033291711000377
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
1bf50a0f-064b-46c9-9904-9b0a5a8bc8c6 (old id 1883601)
alternative location
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21426604?dopt=Abstract
date added to LUP
2011-04-01 17:47:02
date last changed
2017-10-22 04:51:57
@article{1bf50a0f-064b-46c9-9904-9b0a5a8bc8c6,
  abstract     = {BACKGROUND: Autistic-like traits (ALTs), that is restrictions in intuitive social interaction, communication and flexibility of interests and behaviors, were studied in two population-based Swedish twin studies, one in children and one in adults: (1) to examine whether the variability in ALTs is a meaningful risk factor for concomitant attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, conduct problems, depression and substance abuse, and (2) to assess whether common genetic and environmental susceptibilities can help to explain co-existence of ALTs and traits associated with such concomitant problems.MethodTwo nationwide twin cohorts from Sweden (consisting of 11 222 children and 18 349 adults) were assessed by DSM-based symptom algorithms for autism. The twins were divided into six groups based on their degree of ALTs and the risk for concomitant mental health problems was calculated for each group. Genetic and environmental susceptibilities common to ALTs and the other problem types were examined using bivariate twin modeling. RESULTS: In both cohorts, even the lowest degree of ALTs increased the risk for all other types of mental health problems, and these risk estimates increased monotonically with the number of ALTs. For all conditions, common genetic and environmental factors could be discerned. Overall, the phenotypic correlation between ALTs and the traits examined were less pronounced in adulthood than in childhood and less affected by genetic compared with environmental factors. CONCLUSIONS: Even low-grade ALTs are relevant to clinical psychiatry as they increase the risk for several heterotypical mental health problems. The association is influenced partly by common genetic and environmental susceptibilities. Attention to co-existing ALTs is warranted in research on a wide range of mental disorders.},
  author       = {Lundström, Sebastian and Chang, Z and Kerekes, Nora and Gumpert, C H and Råstam, Maria and Gillberg, C and Lichtenstein, P and Anckarsäter, Henrik},
  issn         = {1469-8978},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {11},
  pages        = {2423--2433},
  publisher    = {Cambridge University Press},
  series       = {Psychological Medicine},
  title        = {Autistic-like traits and their association with mental health problems in two nationwide twin cohorts of children and adults.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291711000377},
  volume       = {41},
  year         = {2011},
}