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Intellectual disability (ID) is associated with violent and sexual offending and victimization, but the importance of neuropsychiatric comorbidity and severity of disability remains unclear.
In a register-based cohort study of people born in Sweden 1980–1991 (n = 1 232 564), we investigated associations of mild and moderate/severe ID with any, violent and sexual crimes, and with assault victimization, stratified by comorbid autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We defined ID by attendance at a special school or registered diagnosis and obtained data on criminal convictions and injuries or deaths due to assaults from nationwide registers until end of 2013.
Compared to people without ID, autism or ADHD, men and women with mild or moderate/severe ID and comorbid ADHD had elevated risks of violent crimes [range of hazard ratios (HRs) 4.4–10.4] and assault victimization (HRs 2.0–7.7). Women with mild ID without comorbidities or with comorbid autism also had elevated risks of violent crimes and victimization (HRs 1.8–4.6) compared to women without ID, autism or ADHD. The relative risks of sexual offending and victimization were elevated in men and women with ID without comorbidities (HRs 2.6–12.7). The highest risks for sexual offending in men (HRs 9.4–11.0) and for sexual assault victimization in women (HRs 11.0–17.1) related to ID and comorbid ADHD.
The elevated risk of violent offending and assault victimization in people with ID is largely explained by comorbid ADHD, whereas ID is independently associated with sexual crimes and victimization, even though absolute risks are low.
Co-twin comparisons address familial confounding by controlling for genetic and environmental influences that twin siblings share. We applied the co-twin comparison design to investigate associations of adolescent factors with alcohol dependence (AD) symptoms. Participants were 1286 individuals (581 complete twin pairs; 42% monozygotic; and 54% female) from the FinnTwin12 study. Predictors included adolescent academic achievement, substance use, externalizing problems, internalizing problems, executive functioning, peer environment, physical health, relationship with parents, alcohol expectancies, life events, and pubertal development. The outcome was lifetime AD clinical criterion count, as measured in young adulthood. We examined associations of each adolescent domain with AD symptoms in individual-level and co-twin comparison analyses. In individual-level analyses, adolescents with higher levels of substance use, teacher-reported externalizing problems at age 12, externalizing problems at age 14, self- and co-twin-reported internalizing problems, peer deviance, and perceived difficulty of life events reported more symptoms of AD in young adulthood (ps < .044). Conversely, individuals with higher academic achievement, social adjustment, self-rated health, and parent–child relationship quality met fewer AD clinical criteria (ps < .024). Associations between adolescent substance use, teacher-reported externalizing problems, co-twin-reported internalizing problems, peer deviance, self-rated health, and AD symptoms were of a similar magnitude in co-twin comparisons. We replicated many well-known adolescent correlates of later alcohol problems, including academic achievement, substance use, externalizing and internalizing problems, self-rated health, and features of the peer environment and parent–child relationship. Furthermore, we demonstrate the utility of co-twin comparisons for understanding pathways to AD. Effect sizes corresponding to the associations between adolescent substance use, teacher-reported externalizing problems, co-twin-reported internalizing problems, peer deviance, and self-rated health were not significantly attenuated (p value threshold = .05) after controlling for genetic and environmental influences that twin siblings share, highlighting these factors as candidates for further research.
Genetically informed studies have provided mixed findings as to what extent parental substance misuse is associated with offspring substance misuse and antisocial behavior due to shared environmental and genetic factors.
We linked data from nationwide registries for a cohort of 2 476 198 offspring born in Sweden 1958–1995 and their parents. Substance misuse was defined as International Classification of Diseases diagnoses of alcohol/drug use disorders or alcohol/drug-related criminal convictions. Quantitative genetic offspring-of-siblings analyses in offspring of monozygotic and dizygotic twin, full-sibling, and half-sibling parents were conducted.
Both maternal and paternal substance misuse were robustly associated with offspring substance misuse [maternal adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) = 1.83 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.80–1.87); paternal aHR = 1.96 (1.94–1.98)] and criminal convictions [maternal aHR = 1.56 (1.54–1.58); paternal aHR = 1.66 (1.64–1.67)]. Additive genetic effects explained 42% (95% CI 25–56%) and 46% (36–55%) of the variance in maternal and paternal substance misuse, respectively, and between 36 and 44% of the variance in substance misuse and criminality in offspring. The associations between parental substance misuse and offspring outcomes were mostly due to additive genetic effects, which explained 54–85% of the parent-offspring covariance. However, both nuclear and extended family environmental factors also contributed to the associations, especially with offspring substance misuse.
Our findings from a large offspring-of-siblings study indicate that shared genetic influences mostly explain the associations between parental substance misuse and both offspring substance misuse and criminality, but we also found evidence for the contribution of environmental factors shared by members of nuclear and extended families.
This review offers an update on research conducted with FinnTwin12 (FT12), the youngest of the three Finnish Twin Cohorts. FT12 was designed as a two-stage study. In the first stage, we conducted multiwave questionnaire research enrolling all eligible twins born in Finland during 1983–1987 along with their biological parents. In stage 2, we intensively studied a subset of these twins with in-school assessments at age 12 and semistructured poly-diagnostic interviews at age 14. At baseline, parents of intensively studied twins were administered the adult version of the interview. Laboratory studies with repeat interviews, neuropsychological tests, and collection of DNA were made of intensively studied twins during follow-up in early adulthood. The basic aim of the FT12 study design was to obtain information on individual, familial and school/neighborhood risks for substance use/abuse prior to the onset of regular tobacco and alcohol use and then track trajectories of use and abuse and their consequences into adulthood. But the longitudinal assessments were not narrowly limited to this basic aim, and with multiwave, multirater assessments from ages 11 to 12, the study has created a richly informative data set for analyses of gene–environment interactions of both candidate genes and genomewide measures with measured risk-relevant environments. Because 25 years have elapsed since the start of the study, we are planning a fifth-wave follow-up assessment.
The older Finnish Twin Cohort (FTC) was established in 1974. The baseline survey was in 1975, with two follow-up health surveys in 1981 and 1990. The fourth wave of assessments was done in three parts, with a questionnaire study of twins born during 1945–1957 in 2011–2012, while older twins were interviewed and screened for dementia in two time periods, between 1999 and 2007 for twins born before 1938 and between 2013 and 2017 for twins born in 1938–1944. The content of these wave 4 assessments is described and some initial results are described. In addition, we have invited twin-pairs, based on response to the cohortwide surveys, to participate in detailed in-person studies; these are described briefly together with key results. We also review other projects based on the older FTC and provide information on the biobanking of biosamples and related phenotypes.
Causes of the comorbidity of substance misuse with anxiety-related and depressive disorders (anxiety/depression) remain poorly known. We estimated associations of substance misuse and anxiety/depression in the general population and tested them while accounting for genetic and shared environmental factors.
We studied individuals born in Sweden 1968–1997 (n = 2 996 398) with follow-up in nationwide register data for 1997–2013. To account for familial effects, stratified analyses were conducted within siblings and twin pairs. Substance misuse was defined as ICD-10 alcohol or drug use disorder or an alcohol/drug-related criminal conviction. Three dimensions of ICD-10 anxiety and depressive disorders and a substance misuse dimension were identified through exploratory factor analysis.
Substance misuse was associated with a 4.5-fold (95% CI 4.50–4.58) elevated risk of lifetime generalized anxiety/depression, 4.7-fold (95% CI 4.63–4.82) elevated risk of panic disorder and agora/social phobia, and 2.9-fold elevated risk of phobias/OCD (95% CI 2.82–3.02) as compared to those without substance misuse. The associations were attenuated in within-family analyses but we found elevated risks in monozygotic twin pairs discordant for substance misuse as well as significant non-shared environmental correlations. The association between anxiety/depression and substance misuse was mainly driven by generalized anxiety/depression, whereas other anxiety/depression dimensions had minor or no independent associations with substance misuse.
Substance misuse and anxiety/depression are associated at the population level, and these associations are partially explained by familial liabilities. Our findings indicate a common genetic etiology but are also compatible with a potential partially causal relationship between substance misuse and anxiety/depression.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
We offer a brief sketch of an overlooked early twin researcher, Arvo Johannes Lehtovaara (1905–1985), Professor of Psychology at the University of Jyväskylä, 1939–1952, and the University of Helsinki, 1952–1970, with background notes on his mentor, Eino Kaila.
The purpose of this study was to address two methodological issues that have called into question whether previously reported gene–environment interaction (GxE) effects for adolescent alcohol use are ‘real’. These issues are (1) the potential correlation between the environmental moderator and the outcome across twins and (2) non-linear transformations of the behavioral outcome. Three environments that have been previously studied (peer deviance, parental knowledge, and potentially stressful life events) were examined here. For each moderator (peer deviance, parental knowledge, and potentially stressful life events), a series of models was fit to both a raw and transformed measure of monthly adolescent alcohol use in a sample that included 825 dizygotic (DZ) and 803 monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs. The results showed that the moderating effect of peer deviance was robust to transformation, and that although the significance of moderating effects of parental knowledge and potentially stressful life events were dependent on the scale of the adolescent alcohol use outcome, the overall results were consistent across transformation. In addition, the findings did not vary across statistical models. The consistency of the peer deviance results and the shift of the parental knowledge and potentially stressful life events results between trending and significant, shed some light on why previous findings for certain moderators have been inconsistent and emphasize the importance of considering both methodological issues and previous findings when conducting and interpreting GxE analyses.
Length and weight in infancy are associated with neurodevelopment, but less is known about growth in other anthropometric measures. In this study we analyzed how the development in length, weight, head circumference, and chest circumference over infancy is associated with motor development in early childhood, using a twin study design. Information on physical development over infancy and the age at achievement of eight developmental milestones over early childhood was collected for 370 Japanese twin pairs. Linear mixed models were used to analyze how physical development is associated with motor development between individual twins, as well as within twin pairs, adjusting the results for shared maternal and postnatal environmental factors. Delayed motor development was associated with smaller body size over infancy, and we also found some suggestive evidence that it was associated with catch-up growth as well. When studying the associations within twin pairs discordant for motor development, similar associations were found. However, chest circumference showed the most robust association within discordant twin pairs. Smaller body size and rapid catch-up growth are associated with delayed motor development. When studying these associations within twin pairs and thus adjusting the results for gestational age as well as many other maternal and postnatal environmental factors, chest circumference showed the most robust association. Chest circumference, rarely used in developed countries, can offer additional information on prenatal conditions relevant for further motor development not achieved by more traditional anthropometric measures.
Epidemiological data on alcohol-induced psychotic disorder and delirium (alcohol-induced psychotic syndrome, AIPS) are scarce.
To investigate the epidemiology of AIPS, the risk factors for developing AIPS among people with alcohol dependence, and mortality associated with alcohol dependence with or without AIPS, in a sample drawn from the general population of Finland.
A general population sample of 8028 persons were interviewed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview and screened for psychotic disorders using multiple sources. Best-estimate diagnoses of psychotic disorders were made using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM–IV Axis I Disorders and case notes. Data on hospital treatments and deaths were collected from national registers.
The lifetime prevalence was 0.5% for AIPS and was highest (1.8%) among men of working age. Younger age at onset of alcohol dependence, low socioeconomic status, father's mental health or alcohol problems and multiple hospital treatments were associated with increased risk of AIPS. Participants with a history of AIPS had considerable medical comorbidity, and 37% of them died during the 8-year follow-up.
Alcohol-induced psychotic disorder is a severe mental disorder with poor outcome.
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