The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between poor motor ability and anxious and depressive symptomatology in child and adolescent monozygotic twins. The co-twin control design was used to explore these mental health issues in MZ twins concordant and discordant for a motor disorder, and controls. This methodology offers the unique opportunity to control for genetic effects and shared environmental influences, and permits the investigation of non-shared environmental influences. The Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire was used to identify 23 sets of twins discordant for a motor disorder, 23 sets concordant for a motor disorder, and 773 sets of twins with no motor disorder from a total sample of 2122 Australian sets of twins. The Strengths and Weaknesses of ADHD Symptoms and Normal Behaviour questionnaire was used to exclude participants with high Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptomatology. Anxious and depressive symptomatology were assessed using Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) based questionnaires on Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Sad Affect. Results indicated significantly higher levels of anxious and depressive symptomatology in twins with a motor disorder in discordant pairs compared to their co-twins without a motor disorder, and controls. There were significantly higher levels of anxious symptomatology in twins with a motor disorder in discordant sets than in sets of twins concordant for a motor disorder. There were significantly higher levels of anxious symptomatology in concordant twins than in controls. Implications of these findings are discussed with emphasis on understanding and recognising the relationship between a motor disorder and anxious and depressive symptomatology in clinical practice for children and adolescents with these disorders.
- Motor disorder