Twins Early Development Study: A Genetically Sensitive Investigation into Behavioral and Cognitive Development from Infancy to Emerging Adulthood.
ABSTRACT: The Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) is a longitudinal twin study that recruited over 16,000 twin-pairs born between 1994 and 1996 in England and Wales through national birth records. More than 10,000 of these families are still engaged in the study. TEDS was and still is a representative sample of the population in England and Wales. Rich cognitive and emotional/behavioral data have been collected from the twins from infancy to emerging adulthood, with data collection at first contact and at ages 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 21, enabling longitudinal genetically sensitive analyses. Data have been collected from the twins themselves, from their parents and teachers, and from the UK National Pupil Database. Genotyped DNA data are available for 10,346 individuals (who are unrelated except for 3320 dizygotic co-twins). TEDS data have contributed to over 400 scientific papers involving more than 140 researchers in 50 research institutions. TEDS offers an outstanding resource for investigating cognitive and behavioral development across childhood and early adulthood and actively fosters scientific collaborations.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Childhood psychotic symptoms have been associated with various psychiatric disorders in adulthood but their role as early markers of poor outcomes during the crucial transition to adulthood is largely unknown. Therefore, we investigated associations between age-12 psychotic symptoms and a range of mental health problems and functional outcomes at age 18. METHODS:Data were used from the Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally representative birth cohort of 2232 twins born in 1994-1995 in England and Wales, followed to age 18 with 93% retention. Childhood psychotic symptoms were assessed in structured interviews at age 12. At age 18, study members' mental health problems, functional outcomes, risky behaviors, and offending were measured using self-reports and official records. RESULTS:Children with psychotic symptoms (N = 125, 5.9%) were more likely to experience a range of mental health problems in young adulthood than children without such symptoms. They were also more likely to be obese, smoke cigarettes, be lonely, be parents, and report a lower quality of life, but not more likely to commit crimes. Childhood psychotic symptoms predicted these poor outcomes over and above other emotional and behavioral problems during childhood. Nevertheless, twin analyses indicated that these associations were largely accounted for by shared family factors. CONCLUSIONS:Psychotic symptoms in childhood signal risk for pervasive mental health and functional difficulties in young adulthood and thus may provide a useful screen for an array of later problems. However, early psychotic symptoms and poor outcomes may be manifestations of shared environmental and genetic risks.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with mental health problems and functional impairment across many domains. However, how the longitudinal course of ADHD affects later functioning remains unclear.AimsWe aimed to disentangle how ADHD developmental patterns are associated with young adult functioning. METHOD:The Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study is a population-based cohort of 2232 twins born in England and Wales in 1994-1995. We assessed ADHD in childhood at ages 5, 7, 10 and 12 years and in young adulthood at age 18 years. We examined three developmental patterns of ADHD from childhood to young adulthood - remitted, persistent and late-onset ADHD - and compared these groups with one another and with non-ADHD controls on functioning at age 18 years. We additionally tested whether group differences were attributable to childhood IQ, childhood conduct disorder or familial factors shared between twins. RESULTS:Compared with individuals without ADHD, those with remitted ADHD showed poorer physical health and socioeconomic outcomes in young adulthood. Individuals with persistent or late-onset ADHD showed poorer functioning across all domains, including mental health, substance misuse, psychosocial, physical health and socioeconomic outcomes. Overall, these associations were not explained by childhood IQ, childhood conduct disorder or shared familial factors. CONCLUSIONS:Long-term associations of childhood ADHD with adverse physical health and socioeconomic outcomes underscore the need for early intervention. Young adult ADHD showed stronger associations with poorer mental health, substance misuse and psychosocial outcomes, emphasising the importance of identifying and treating adults with ADHD.Declaration of interestNone.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Childhood conduct problems are associated with poor functioning in early adulthood. We tested a series of hypotheses to understand the mechanisms underlying this association. METHOD:We used data from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, a birth cohort of 2,232 twins born in England and Wales in 1994 and 1995, followed up to age 18 years with 93% retention. Severe conduct problems in childhood were assessed at ages 5, 7, and 10 years using parent and teacher reports. Poor functioning at age 18 years, including cautions and convictions, daily cigarette smoking, heavy drinking, and psychosocial difficulties, was measured through interviews with participants and official crime record searches. RESULTS:Participants 18 years old with versus without a childhood history of severe conduct problems had greater rates of each poor functional outcome, and they were more likely to experience multiple poor outcomes. This association was partly accounted for by concurrent psychopathology in early adulthood, as well as by early familial risk factors, both genetic and environmental. Childhood conduct problems, however, continued to predict poor outcomes at age 18 years after accounting for these explanations. CONCLUSION:Children with severe conduct problems display poor functioning at age 18 years because of concurrent problems in early adulthood and familial risk factors originating in childhood. However, conduct problems also exert a lasting effect on young people's lives independent of these factors, pointing to early conduct problems as a target for early interventions aimed at preventing poor functional outcomes.
Project description:AIMS:This study tested whether adolescents who used cannabis or met criteria for cannabis dependence showed neuropsychological impairment prior to cannabis initiation and neuropsychological decline from before to after cannabis initiation. DESIGN:A longitudinal co-twin control study. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS:Participants were 1989 twins from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally representative birth cohort of twins born in England and Wales from 1994 to 1995. MEASUREMENTS:Frequency of cannabis use and cannabis dependence were assessed at age 18. Intelligence quotient (IQ) was obtained at ages 5, 12 and 18. Executive functions were assessed at age 18. FINDINGS:Compared with adolescents who did not use cannabis, adolescents who used cannabis had lower IQ in childhood prior to cannabis initiation and lower IQ at age 18, but there was little evidence that cannabis use was associated with IQ decline from ages 12-18. For example, adolescents with cannabis dependence had age 12 and age 18 IQ scores that were 5.61 (t = -3.11, P = 0.002) and 7.34 IQ points (t = -5.27, P < 0.001) lower than adolescents without cannabis dependence, but adolescents with cannabis dependence did not show greater IQ decline from age 12-18 (t = -1.27, P = 0.20). Moreover, adolescents who used cannabis had poorer executive functions at age 18 than adolescents who did not use cannabis, but these associations were generally not apparent within twin pairs. For example, twins who used cannabis more frequently than their co-twin performed similarly to their co-twin on five of six executive function tests (Ps > 0.10). The one exception was that twins who used cannabis more frequently than their co-twin performed worse on one working memory test (Spatial Span reversed; ? = -0.07, P = 0.036). CONCLUSIONS:Short-term cannabis use in adolescence does not appear to cause IQ decline or impair executive functions, even when cannabis use reaches the level of dependence. Family background factors explain why adolescent cannabis users perform worse on IQ and executive function tests.
Project description:Peer behaviour plays an important role in the development of social adjustment, though little is known about its genetic architecture. We conducted a twin study combined with a genome-wide complex trait analysis (GCTA) and a genome-wide screen to characterise genetic influences on problematic peer behaviour during childhood and adolescence. This included a series of longitudinal measures (parent-reported Strengths-and-Difficulties Questionnaire) from a UK population-based birth-cohort (ALSPAC, 4-17 years), and a UK twin sample (TEDS, 4-11 years). Longitudinal twin analysis (TEDS; N ? 7,366 twin pairs) showed that peer problems in childhood are heritable (4-11 years, 0.60 < twin-h(2) ? 0.71) but genetically heterogeneous from age to age (4-11 years, twin-r(g) = 0.30). GCTA (ALSPAC: N ? 5,608, TEDS: N ? 2,691) provided furthermore little support for the contribution of measured common genetic variants during childhood (4-12 years, 0.02 < GCTA-h(2)(Meta) ? 0.11) though these influences become stronger in adolescence (13-17 years, 0.14 < GCTA-h (2)(ALSPAC) ? 0.27). A subsequent cross-sectional genome-wide screen in ALSPAC (N ? 6,000) focussed on peer problems with the highest GCTA-heritability (10, 13 and 17 years, 0.0002 < GCTA-P ? 0.03). Single variant signals (P ? 10(-5)) were followed up in TEDS (N ? 2835, 9 and 11 years) and, in search for autism quantitative trait loci, explored within two autism samples (AGRE: N Pedigrees = 793; ACC: N Cases = 1,453/N Controls = 7,070). There was, however, no evidence for association in TEDS and little evidence for an overlap with the autistic continuum. In summary, our findings suggest that problematic peer relationships are heritable but genetically complex and heterogeneous from age to age, with an increase in common measurable genetic variation during adolescence.
Project description:Feelings of loneliness are common among young adults, and are hypothesized to impair the quality of sleep. In the present study, we tested associations between loneliness and sleep quality in a nationally representative sample of young adults. Further, based on the hypothesis that sleep problems in lonely individuals are driven by increased vigilance for threat, we tested whether past exposure to violence exacerbated this association.Data were drawn from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, a birth cohort of 2232 twins born in England and Wales in 1994 and 1995. We measured loneliness using items from the UCLA Loneliness Scale, and sleep quality using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. We controlled for covariates including social isolation, psychopathology, employment status and being a parent of an infant. We examined twin differences to control for unmeasured genetic and family environment factors.Feelings of loneliness were associated with worse overall sleep quality. Loneliness was associated specifically with subjective sleep quality and daytime dysfunction. These associations were robust to controls for covariates. Among monozygotic twins, within-twin pair differences in loneliness were significantly associated with within-pair differences in sleep quality, indicating an association independent of unmeasured familial influences. The association between loneliness and sleep quality was exacerbated among individuals exposed to violence victimization in adolescence or maltreatment in childhood.Loneliness is robustly associated with poorer sleep quality in young people, underscoring the importance of early interventions to mitigate the long-term outcomes of loneliness. Special care should be directed towards individuals who have experienced victimization.
Project description:Adolescent alcohol abuse is associated with adverse outcomes in early adulthood, but differences in familial status and structure and household and community environments correlate with both adolescent drinking and adverse adult outcomes and may explain their association. We studied drinking-discordant twin pairs to evaluate such confounds to ask: Will between-family associations replicate in within-family comparisons?With longitudinal data from >3,000 Finnish twins, we associated drinking problems at age 18½ with 13 outcomes assessed at age 25; included were sustained substance abuse, poor health, physical symptoms, early coital debut, multiple sexual partners, life dissatisfaction, truncated education, and financial problems. We assessed associations among twins as individuals with linear regression adjusted for correlated observations; within-family analyses of discordant twin pairs followed, comparing paired means for adult outcomes among co-twins discordant for adolescent problem drinking. Defining discordance by extreme scores on self-reported problem drinking at age 18½ permitted parallel analyses of twins as individuals and discordant twin pairs. Alternate definitions of pair-wise discordance and difference score correlations across the entire twin sample yielded supplementary analyses.All individual associations were highly significant for all definitions of discordance we employed. Depending on definitions of discordance, 11 to 13 comparisons of all drinking-discordant twin pairs and 3 to 6 comparisons of discordant monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs replicated between-family associations. For most outcomes, effect size attenuated from individual-level analysis to that within discordant MZ twin pairs providing evidence of partial confounding in associations reported in earlier research. The exception was the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ); at age 25, GHQ-12 had equivalent associations with age 18½ Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index across all comparisons.Our analyses control for shared family background, and, partly or fully, for shared genes, to yield within-family replications and more compelling evidence than previously available that adolescent alcohol abuse disrupts transitions into early adulthood.
Project description:Twin studies consistently point to limited genetic influence on attachment security in the infancy period, but no study has examined whether this remains the case in later development. This study presents the findings from a twin study examining the relative importance of genetic and environmental influences on attachment in adolescence.The sample included 551 twin pairs aged 15 years recruited from the larger Twins Early Development Study (TEDS). Attachment was assessed using a semistructured interview, the Child Attachment Interview.We found robust associations between MZ twins' scores for Coherence and their overall security of attachment (r = .42, p < .001; kappa = .26, p < .001), but substantially lower associations for DZ twins (r = .20, p = .001; kappa = .09, p = .20), suggesting genetic influence on adolescent attachment (and substantial nonshared environment). Model-fitting analyses confirmed this impression, indicating approximately 40% heritability of attachment and negligible influence of the shared environment.The results suggest that genes may play an important role in adolescent attachment and point to the potentially distinct aetiological mechanisms involved in individual differences in attachment beyond early childhood.
Project description:This article describes the new synthetic England and Wales Longitudinal Study 'spine' dataset designed for teaching and experimentation purposes. In the United Kingdom, there exist three Census-based longitudinal micro-datasets, known collectively as the Longitudinal Studies. The England and Wales Longitudinal Study (LS) is a 1% sample of the population of England and Wales (around 500,000 individuals), linking individual person records from the 1971 to 2011 Censuses. The synthetic data presented contains a similar number of individuals to the original data and accurate longitudinal transitions between 2001 and 2011 for key demographic variables, but unlike the original data, is open access.
Project description:The present study used a prospective, longitudinal design to investigate genetic and environmental influences on the association between earlier conduct problems and the initiation and progression of marijuana use during adolescence. Parent- and teacher-reported conduct problems assessed at Time 1 (1996) and self-reported marijuana use assessed at Time 2 (2004) were available for 1088 adolescent twin pairs participating in the Cardiff Study of All Wales and North West of England Twins (CaStANET). Using a novel approach to the modeling of initiation and progression dimensions in substance use, findings suggested that the initiation of marijuana use in adolescence was influenced by genetic, common and unique environmental factors. The progression (or frequency) of marijuana use was influenced by genetic and unique environmental factors. Findings for conduct problems indicated that while the presence or absence of conduct problems was largely heritable, the relative severity of conduct problems appeared to be more strongly environmentally influenced. Multivariate model fitting indicated that conduct problems in childhood and early adolescence made a small but significant contribution to the risk for marijuana use 8 years later.