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The developmental course of inattention symptoms predicts academic achievement due to shared genetic aetiology: a longitudinal twin study

Liu, C-Y; Li, Y; Viding, E; Asherson, P; Pingault, J-B; (2019) The developmental course of inattention symptoms predicts academic achievement due to shared genetic aetiology: a longitudinal twin study. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry , 28 (3) pp. 367-375. 10.1007/s00787-018-1200-6. Green open access

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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.

Type: Article
Title: The developmental course of inattention symptoms predicts academic achievement due to shared genetic aetiology: a longitudinal twin study
Location: Germany
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s00787-018-1200-6
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-018-1200-6
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: ADHD, Academic achievement, Genetic and environmental aetiology, Inattention symptoms, Twins
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10052947
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