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Publication Detail
The developmental course of inattention symptoms predicts academic achievement due to shared genetic aetiology: a longitudinal twin study.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Article
  • Authors:
    Liu C-Y, Li Y, Viding E, Asherson P, Pingault J-B
  • Publication date:
    03/2019
  • Journal:
    European child & adolescent psychiatry
  • Medium:
    Print-Electronic
  • Status:
    Published
  • Print ISSN:
    1018-8827
  • Language:
    eng
  • Addresses:
    Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, London, UK.
Abstract
Symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, in particular inattention symptoms, are associated with academic achievement. However, whether and why the developmental course of inattention symptoms (i.e. systematic decreases or increases of symptoms with age) predicts academic achievement remains unclear. A total of 5634 twin pairs born in the UK were included in the current study. We used latent growth curve modelling to estimate the baseline level and the developmental course of inattention symptoms (assessed at ages 8, 11, 14 and 16 years) and test whether they predicted the General Certificate of Secondary Education scores (GCSE, at age 16 years). We then implemented multivariate twin modelling to determine the role of genetic and environmental factors in explaining the relationship between inattention symptoms and GCSE scores. Increasing inattention symptoms across childhood and adolescence predicted poorer GCSE scores independently of the baseline level of inattention. Genetic factors explained most of this relationship, i.e. genetic factors contributing to individual differences in the developmental course of inattention also influenced GCSE scores. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that genetic factors underlying the developmental course of inattention symptoms across childhood and adolescence also influence academic achievement. This may result from indirect mechanism, whereby genetic factors explain systematic changes in inattention levels with age, which in turn impact academic achievement. The shared genetic aetiology may also suggest common neurobiological processes underlying both the developmental course of inattention symptoms and academic achievement.
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