Are Genetic and Environmental Risk Factors for Psychopathology Amplified in Children with Below-Average Intelligence? A Population-Based Twin Study

Susanne Bruins, Elsje van Bergen, Maurits W Masselink, Stefania A Barzeva, Catharina A Hartman, Roy Otten, Nanda N J Rommelse, Conor V Dolan, Dorret I Boomsma

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

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There is a negative association between intelligence and psychopathology. We analyzed data on intelligence and psychopathology to assess this association in seven-year-old Dutch twin pairs (ranging from 616 to 14,150 depending on the phenotype) and estimated the degree to which genetic and environmental factors common to intelligence and psychopathology explain the association. Secondly, we examined whether genetic and environmental effects on psychopathology are moderated by intelligence. We found that intelligence, as assessed by psychometric IQ tests, correlated negatively with childhood psychopathology, as assessed by the DSM-oriented scales of the Child Behavior Check List (CBCL). The correlations ranged between - .09 and - .15 and were mainly explained by common genetic factors. Intelligence moderated genetic and environmental effects on anxiety and negative affect, but not those on ADHD, ODD, and autism. The heritability of anxiety and negative affect was greatest in individuals with below-average intelligence. We discuss mechanisms through which this effect could arise, and we end with some recommendations for future research.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's12
TijdschriftBehavior Genetics
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 14-feb.-2024

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