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Gepubliceerd in: Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology 9/2019

22-03-2019

Genetic Correlation between Child Callous-Unemotional Behaviors and Fear Recognition Deficit: Evidence for a Neurocognitive Endophenotype

Auteurs: Amélie Petitclerc, Jeffrey Henry, Bei Feng, Natalia Poliakova, Mara Brendgen, Ginette Dionne, Frank Vitaro, Richard Ernest Tremblay, Michel Boivin

Gepubliceerd in: Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology | Uitgave 9/2019

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Abstract

This study investigates emotion recognition deficits as candidate neurocognitive endophenotypes for callous-unemotional (CU) behaviors. Using a twin design, we tested genetic correlations between child CU behaviors and poor processing of fearful and sad facial expressions. Participants were 504 twin pairs (209 MZ pairs; 295 DZ pairs) from the Quebec Newborn Twin Study, a longitudinal study of a population-based sample of twins. Teachers in kindergarten and first grade rated children’s CU behaviors and other behavior problems (attention deficit and hyperactivity symptoms, physical aggression, and depressive symptoms). In first grade (mean age 7 years), the children completed the visual subtest of the Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy Scale 2 (DANVA-II) to assess emotion recognition from facial stimuli. Using structural equation modeling, we examined the genetic-environmental etiology of the association between fear/sadness recognition and child CU behaviors, controlling for other behavior problems and recognition of other emotions. We found a significant genetic correlation between poor fear recognition and CU behaviors that was independent of other behavior problems. Poor recognition of sadness was not significantly associated with CU behaviors after taking into account other behavior problems. Our results suggest that CU behaviors and fear recognition have a partly shared genetic aetiology. This provides support for poor fear recognition as a key neurocognitive endophenotype for CU behaviors. Future research should test a hypothesized causal chain from specific genes, through amygdala functioning and fear recognition, to CU behaviors, and identify specific environmental factors (including intervention) that may disrupt this chain.
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1
We used residuals to control for other emotion recognition scores rather than include them in the Cholesky model, in order to make the Cholesky model simpler, easier to fit and clearer to present visually. In contrast, we controlled for behavior problems other than CU by including them in the Cholesky model, because we thought readers may be interested in the genetic/environmental relationships between these behavior problems and emotion recognition.
 
2
We also tested, in two separate multiple regression analyses, whether CU behaviors specifically predicted fear and sadness recognition, while controlling for the other behavior problems and recognition of the other emotions. Only CU behaviors – and none of the other behavior problems – significantly predicted fear recognition over and above the other variables. Neither CU behaviors nor the other behavior problems predicted sadness recognition over and above the other variables. These additional results are available from the first author.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
Genetic Correlation between Child Callous-Unemotional Behaviors and Fear Recognition Deficit: Evidence for a Neurocognitive Endophenotype
Auteurs
Amélie Petitclerc
Jeffrey Henry
Bei Feng
Natalia Poliakova
Mara Brendgen
Ginette Dionne
Frank Vitaro
Richard Ernest Tremblay
Michel Boivin
Publicatiedatum
22-03-2019
Uitgeverij
Springer US
Gepubliceerd in
Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology / Uitgave 9/2019
Print ISSN: 2730-7166
Elektronisch ISSN: 2730-7174
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-019-00529-2