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Familial influences on the full range of variability in attention and activity levels during adolescence: A longitudinal twin study

  • Chun-Zi Peng (a1) (a2), Julia D. Grant (a1), Andrew C. Heath (a1), Angela M. Reiersen (a1), Richard C. Mulligan (a1) and Andrey P. Anokhin (a1)...

Abstract

To investigate familial influences on the full range of variability in attention and activity across adolescence, we collected maternal ratings of 339 twin pairs at ages 12, 14, and 16, and estimated the transmitted and new familial influences on attention and activity as measured by the Strengths and Weaknesses of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms and Normal Behavior Scale. Familial influences were substantial for both traits across adolescence: genetic influences accounted for 54%–73% (attention) and 31%–73% (activity) of the total variance, and shared environmental influences accounted for 0%–22% of the attention variance and 13%–57% of the activity variance. The longitudinal stability of individual differences in attention and activity was largely accounted for by familial influences transmitted from previous ages. Innovations over adolescence were also partially attributable to familial influences. Studying the full range of variability in attention and activity may facilitate our understanding of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder's etiology and intervention.

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Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Andrey P. Anokhin, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid Avenue, Box 8134, Saint Louis, MO 63110; E-mail: anokhina@psychiatry.wustl.edu.

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