Conduct disorder and somatic health in children: a nationwide genetically sensitive study

Nóra Kerekes, Btissame Zouini, Emma Karlsson, Emma Cederholm, Paul Lichtenstein, Henrik Anckarsäter, Maria Råstam

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


Background: Conduct disorder (CD), a serious behavioral and emotional disorder in childhood and adolescence, characterized by disruptive behavior and breaking societal rules. Studies have explored the overlap of CD with neurodevelopmental problems (NDP). The somatic health of children with NDP has been investigated; however, the prevalence of these problems in children with CD has not been sufficiently studied. Holistic assessment of children with CD is required for establishing effective treatment strategies. Aims: (1) Define the prevalence of selected neurological problems (migraine and epilepsy) and gastrointestinal problems (celiac disease, lactose intolerance, diarrhea, and constipation) in a population of twins aged 9 or 12; (2) Compare the prevalence of somatic problems in three subpopulations: (a) children without CD or NDP, (b) children with CD, and (c) children with both CD and NDP; (3) Select twin pairs where at least one child screened positive for CD but not NDP (proband) and map both children’s neurological and gastrointestinal problems. Method: Telephone interviews with parents of 20,302 twins in a cross-sectional, nationwide, ongoing study. According to their scores on the Autism-Tics, AD/HD, and Comorbidities inventory, screen-positive children were selected and divided into two groups: (1) children with CD Only, (2) children with CD and at least one NDP. Results: Children with CD had an increased prevalence of each neurological and gastrointestinal problem (except celiac disease), and the prevalence of somatic problems was further increased among children with comorbid CD and NDP. The presence of CD (without NDP) increased the odds of constipation for girls and the odds of epilepsy for boys. Girls with CD generally had more coexisting gastrointestinal problems than boys with CD. Female co-twins of probands with CD were strongly affected by gastrointestinal problems. Concordance analyses suggested genetic background factors in neurological and gastrointestinal problems, but no common etiology with CD could be concluded. Conclusion: Co-occurring NDP could explain most of the increased prevalence of somatic problems in CD. Our results raise a new perspective on CD in children and adolescents; their CD seems to be linked to a number of other health problems, ranging from neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders to somatic complaints.

TidskriftBMC Psychiatry
StatusPublished - 2020

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Psykiatri


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