An investigation into etiological pathways of DCD and ADHD using a monozygotic twin design

Jillian G. Pearsall-Jones, Jan P. Piek, Daniela Rigoli, Neilson C. Martin, Florence Levy

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32 Citations (Scopus)


We previously described a co-twin control design using questionnaire data on monozygotic twins discordant and concordant for developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Our results suggested that DCD and developmental ADHD had different causal pathways, and that second-born twins were at higher risk for oxygen perfusion problems than first-born twins. In the current study we further explored our findings using DNA confirmed zygosity and assessments of 4 female and 10 male sets of monozygotic twins, aged 8 to 17 years, from the first study. Using the McCarron Assessment of Neuromuscular Development (MAND), twice as many second- as first-born twins met criteria for DCD. Second-born twins attained significantly lower scores on 1-minute Apgar, MAND Gross Motor, Bimanual Dexterity and Neuromuscular Development Index. Seven of the nine twins who met criteria for DCD experienced perinatal oxygen perfusion problems. This supported findings in the first study of an association between perinatal oxygen perfusion problems and DCD, and our hypothesis that DCD and cerebral palsy have similar causal pathways. We found similar numbers of males and females discordant for DCD. On telephone interview using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children Parent Interview, the only first-, and all five second-born twins who met criteria for ADHD had an inattentive component - three Inattentive; three Combined. All twins positive for ADHD were male. This adds support to our hypothesis that ADHD symptoms found in some participants may reflect secondary ADHD associated with environmental factors, rather than developmental ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-391
Number of pages11
JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • ADHD
  • Concordant
  • DCD
  • Discordant
  • Environmental
  • Etiology
  • Genetic
  • Monozygotic twin
  • Oxygen perfusion


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