Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Development of ADHD symptoms in preschool children: Genetic and environmental contributions

  • Espen Moen Eilertsen (a1), Line C. Gjerde (a1) (a2), Kenneth S. Kendler (a3), Espen Røysamb (a1) (a2), Steven H. Aggen (a3), Kristin Gustavson (a1) (a2), Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud (a1) (a2) and Eivind Ystrom (a1) (a2)...

Abstract

We examined genetic and environmental contributions to the development of symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in preschool children. ADHD symptoms in siblings at 1.5, 3, and 5 years of age were investigated in a population-based sample from the prospective Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. The longitudinal contributions of additive genetic, shared, twin-specific, and unique environmental influences were estimated using biometric structural equation models. Heritability of ADHD symptoms ranged from 54% to 70%. There was evidence of partially new genetic influences at successive ages, with genetic correlations ranging from .58 to .89. Contributions from shared environmental factors and twin-specific factors were minor. The importance of unique environmental effects appeared to increase across ages, and was mostly specific to a given age. There was no evidence suggesting that this pattern differs across males and females. Symptoms of ADHD are highly heritability in young children from as early as 1.5 years of age. Longitudinal stability of ADHD symptoms is mainly attributable to genetic influences, but there is also some evidence for age-specific genetic influences. These findings contribute to our understanding of development of ADHD early in life, and can guide future molecular genetics studies.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Espen Moen Eilertsen, Box 4404, Nydalen, N-0403 Oslo, Norway; E-mail: espenmoen.eilertsen@fhi.no.

References

Hide All
Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. A. (2001). Manual for the ASEBA Preschool Forms and Profiles. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5). Washington, DC: Author.
Burt, S. A. (2009). Rethinking environmental contributions to child and adolescent psychopathology: A meta-analysis of shared environmental influences. Psychological Bulletin, 135, 608. doi:10.1037/a0015702
Carey, G. (1986). Sibling imitation and contrast effects. Behavior Genetics, 16, 319341. doi:10.1007/BF01071314
Faraone, S. V., Biederman, J., & Milberger, S. (1995). How reliable are maternal reports of their children's psychopathology? One-year recall of psychiatric diagnoses of ADHD children. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 34, 10011008. doi:10.1097/00004583-199508000-00009
Kessler, R. C., Amminger, G. P., Aguilar-Gaxiola, S., Alonso, J., Lee, S., & Ustun, T. B. (2007). Age of onset of mental disorders: A review of recent literature. Current Opinions in Psychiatry, 20, 359364. doi:10.1097/YCO.0b013e32816ebc8c
Kuntsi, J., Rijsdijk, F., Ronald, A., Asherson, P., & Plomin, R. (2005). Genetic influences on the stability of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms from early to middle childhood. Biological Psychiatry, 57, 647654. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2004.12.032
Magnus, P., Berg, K., & Nance, W. (1983). Predicting zygosity in Norwegian twin pairs born 1915–1960. Clinical Genetics, 24, 103112. doi:10.1111/j.1399-0004.1983.tb02220.x
Magnus, P., Birke, C., Vejrup, K., Haugan, A., Alsaker, E., Daltveit, A., … Knudsen, G. (2016). Cohort profile update: The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). International Journal of Epidemiology, 45, 382388. doi:10.1093/ije/dyw029
Markon, K. E., Chmielewski, M., & Miller, C. J. (2011). The reliability and validity of discrete and continuous measures of psychopathology: A quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin, 137, 856. doi:10.1037/a0023678
Markon, K. E., & Krueger, R. F. (2004). An empirical comparison of information—Theoretic selection criteria for multivariate behavior genetic models. Behavior Genetics, 34, 593610. doi:10.1007/s10519-004-5587-0
Nakamura, B. J., Ebesutani, C., Bernstein, A., & Chorpita, B. F. (2009). A psychometric analysis of the child behavior checklist DSM-oriented scales. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 31, 178189. doi:10.1007/s10862-008-9119-8
Neale, M. C., & Cardon, L. (2013). Methodology for genetic studies of twins and families (Vol. 67). Dordrecht: Springer Science & Business Media.
Neale, M. C., Hunter, M. D., Pritikin, J. N., Zahery, M., Brick, T. R., Kirkpatrick, R. M., … Boker, S. M. (2016). OpenMx 2.0: Extended structural equation and statistical modeling. Psychometrika, 81, 535549. doi:10.1007/s11336-014-9435-8
Polanczyk, G., de Lima, M., Horta, B., Biederman, J., & Rohde, L. (2007). The worldwide prevalence of ADHD: A systematic review and metaregression analysis. American Journal of Psychiatry, 164, 942.
Polderman, T. J., Benyamin, B., De Leeuw, C. A., Sullivan, P. F., Van Bochoven, A., Visscher, P. M., & Posthuma, D. (2015). Meta-analysis of the heritability of human traits based on fifty years of twin studies. Nature Genetics, 47, 702. doi:10.1038/ng.3285
Price, T. S., Simonoff, E., Asherson, P., Curran, S., Kuntsi, J., Waldman, I., & Plomin, R. (2005). Continuity and change in preschool ADHD symptoms: Longitudinal genetic analysis with contrast effects. Behavior Genetics, 35, 121132. doi:10.1007/s10519-004-1013-x
Rietveld, M. J., Hudziak, J. J., Bartels, M., van Beijsterveldt, C., & Boomsma, D. I. (2004). Heritability of attention problems in children: Longitudinal results from a study of twins, age 3 to 12. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 577588. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00247.x
Rietveld, M. J., Posthuma, D., Dolan, C., & Boomsma, D. (2003). ADHD: Sibling interaction or dominance: An evaluation of statistical power. Behavior Genetics, 33, 247255. doi:10.1023/A:1023490307170
Simonoff, E., Pickles, A., Hervas, A., Silberg, J., Rutter, M., & Eaves, L. (1998). Genetic influences on childhood hyperactivity: Contrast effects imply parental rating bias, not sibling interaction. Psychological Medicine, 28, 825837.
Thapar, A., Cooper, M., Eyre, O., & Langley, K. (2013). Practitioner review: What have we learnt about the causes of ADHD? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54, 316. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2012.02611.x
Van den Berg, S. M., Glas, C. A., & Boomsma, D. I. (2007). Variance decomposition using an IRT measurement model. Behavior Genetics, 37, 604616. doi:10.1007/s10519-007-9156-1
Wesseldijk, L. W., Fedko, I. O., Bartels, M., Nivard, M. G., van Beijsterveldt, C. E., Boomsma, D. I., & Middeldorp, C. M. (2017). Psychopathology in 7-year-old children: Differences in maternal and paternal ratings and the genetic epidemiology. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 174, 251260. doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.32500
Willoughby, M. T. (2003). Developmental course of ADHD symptomatology during the transition from childhood to adolescence: A review with recommendations. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44, 88106. doi:10.1111/1469-7610.t01-1-00104
World Health Organization. (1993). The ICD-10 classification of mental and behavioural disorders: Diagnostic criteria for research (Vol. 2). Geneva: Author.
Zyphur, M. J., Zhang, Z., Barsky, A. P., & Li, W.-D. (2013). An ACE in the hole: Twin family models for applied behavioral genetics research. Leadership Quarterly, 24, 572594. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2013.04.001

Keywords

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Eilertsen et al. supplementary material
Eilertsen et al. supplementary material 1

 Word (66 KB)
66 KB

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed