Genetic and environmental influences upon the CBCL/6-18 DSM-oriented scales: similarities and differences across three different computational approaches and two age ranges


Inasmuch as the newly established DSM-oriented CBCL/6-18 scales are to be increasingly employed to assess clinical/ high-risk populations, it becomes important to explore their aetiology both within the normal- and the extreme range of variation in general population samples and to compare the results obtained in different age groups. We investigated by the Quantitative Maximum Likelihood, the De Fries-Fulker, and the Ordinal Maximum Likelihood methods the genetic and environmental influences upon the five DSM-oriented CBCL/6-18 scales in 796 twins aged 8–17 years belonging to the general population-based Italian Twin Registry. When children were analysed together regardless of age, most best-fitting solutions yielded genetic and non-shared environmental factors as the sole influences for DSM-oriented CBCL/6-18 behaviours, both for the normal and the extreme variations. When analyses were conducted separately for two age groups, shared environmental influences emerged consistently for Affective and Anxiety Problems in children aged 8–11. Oppositional-Defiant, Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity, and Conduct Problems appeared—with few exceptions—influenced only by genetic and non-shared environmental factors in both age groups, according to all three computational approaches. The De Fries-Fulker method appeared to be more sensitive in detecting shared environmental effects. Analysing the same set of data with different analytic approaches leads to better-balanced views on the aetiology of psychopathological behaviours in the developmental years

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