Being an identical twin does not necessarily mean having identical perceptions of family functioning, nor of the twin relationship. Using the co-twin control design, the aim of this study was to explore perceptions of family dynamics and the twin relationship in monozygotic (MZ) twins discordant and concordant for Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). It was hypothesized that, as has been found in twins discordant for cerebral palsy, twins without DCD would perceive family functioning as less healthy than would their co-twins with DCD. It was also hypothesized that the twin relationship would be regarded generally as mutually supportive. Questionnaire data on 866 sets of MZ twins aged 6 to 17 years were used to identify seven sets discordant, and two sets concordant for DCD. Quantitative (General Functioning Scale of the Family Assessment Device - FAD), and qualitative (semi-structured interview) measures were used to assess family dynamics and the twin relationship. In discordant sets, six of seven twins without DCD rated family functioning at a less healthy level than did their co-twins with DCD. All twins in the DCD concordant sets rated their family functioning at a healthy level. From the semi-structured interviews, emergent themes included friendship, support, minimal sibling rivalry, and minor difficulties. It was concluded that, overall, the twin relationship was regarded as close and mutually supportive, with an ambivalent polarity between the best and most difficult aspects of being an identical twin. Implications for research, policy and clinical practice are discussed.
- Developmental coordination disorder
- Family assessment device
- Monozygotic co-twin control