Child and adolescent conduct disorder substantially shares genetic influences with three socioemotional dispositions

Irwin D. Waldman, Jennifer L. Tackett, Carol A. Van Hulle, Brooks Applegate, Dustin Pardini, Paul J. Frick, Benjamin B. Lahey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


In a representative sample of twin children and adolescents, we tested the hypothesis that a substantial proportion of the genetic and environmental influences underlying conduct disorder (CD) are shared with three socioemotional dispositions: Prosociality, Negative Emotionality, and Daring. Caretaker ratings of each dispositional dimension were uniquely associated with a latent CD dimension that included both caretaker- and youth-reports of CD as indicators. Behavior genetic analyses indicated that moderate-to-high additive genetic and moderate nonshared environmental influences underlie all three dispositions and CD, with modest shared environmental influences on Prosociality. Forty percent of the additive genetic influences and all of the nonshared environmental influences on the latent CD dimension were shared in common with the three socioemotional dispositions. The finding that CD shares a substantial proportion of its genetic influences with three distinct socioemotional dispositions suggests new perspectives on the heterogeneous etiology of CD and new approaches to exploring its specific etiological mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-70
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Conduct problems
  • Genetic and environmental influences
  • Multivariate behavior genetic analyses
  • Socioemotional dispositions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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