Twin Research and Human Genetics

Articles

Depressive Symptomatology in Child and Adolescent Twins With Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and/or Developmental Coordination Disorder

Jan P. Pieka1 c1, Daniela Rigolia2, Jillian G. Pearsall-Jonesa3, Neilson C. Martina4, David A. Haya5, Kellie S. Bennetta6 and Florence Levya7

a1 School of Psychology, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia, Australia. j.piek@curtin.edu.au

a2 School of Psychology, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.

a3 School of Psychology, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.

a4 School of Psychology, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.

a5 School of Psychology, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.

a6 School of Psychiatry, University of Western Australia Perth,Western Australia, Australia.

a7 School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated a link between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), developmental coordination disorder (DCD), and depression. The present study utilized a monozygotic (MZ) differences design to investigate differences in depressive symptomatology between MZ twins discordant for ADHD or DCD. This extends previous research as it controls for genetic effects and shared environmental influences and enables the investigation of nonshared environmental influences. In addition, children and adolescents with comorbid ADHD and DCD were compared on their level of depressive symptomatology to those with ADHD only, DCD only, and no ADHD or DCD. The parent-rated Strengths and Weaknesses of ADHD Symptoms and Normal Behavior, Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire, and Sad Affect Scale were used to assess ADHD, DCD, and depressive symptomatology respectively. The results revealed higher levels of depressive symptomatology in MZ twins with ADHD or DCD compared to their nonaffected co-twins. In addition, children and adolescents with comorbid ADHD and DCD demonstrated higher levels of depressive symptomatology compared to those with ADHD only, DCD only, and no ADHD or DCD. The implications of these findings are discussed with emphasis on understanding and recognizing the relationship between ADHD, DCD, and depression in the assessment and intervention for children and adolescents with these disorders.

(Received December 01 2006)

(Accepted May 11 2007)

Correspondence:

c1 Address for correspondence: Professor Jan Piek, School of Psychology, Curtin University of Technology, GPO Box U1987, Perth Western Australia 6845, Australia.

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