Psychopathology

Blonigen, D.M., Hicks, B.M., Krueger, R.F., Patrick, C.J. & Iacono, W.G. (2006). Continuity and Change in Psychopathic Traits as Measured Via Normal-Range Personality: A Longitudinal-Biometric Study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 115, 85-95.

The discriminant validity of the interpersonal–affective and social deviance traits of psychopathy has been well documented. However, few studies have explored whether these traits follow distinct or comparable developmental paths. The present study used the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (A. Tellegen, in press) to examine the development of the psychopathic traits of Fearless Dominance (i.e., interpersonal–affective) and Impulsive Antisociality (i.e., social deviance) from late adolescence to early adulthood in a longitudinal– epidemiological sample of male and female twins. Results from mean- and individual-level analyses revealed stability in Fearless Dominance from late adolescence to early adulthood, whereas Impulsive Antisociality declined over this developmental period. In addition, biometric findings indicated greater genetic contributions to stability in these traits and greater nonshared environmental contributions to their change over time. Collectively, these findings suggest distinct developmental trends for psychopathic traits from late adolescence to early adulthood.


Gogineni, A., King, S.M., Iacono, W.G., McGue, M., etal. (2006). Female Offspring of Alcoholic Individuals: Recent Finding on Alcoholism and Psychopathology Risk: Symposium Presented at the Research Society on Alcoholism, 2004, Vancouver Aruna Gogineni Chair. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 30, 377-387.

In the past decade, significant advances have been made in understanding how genetic and environmental factors contribute to alcoholism and other psychopathology
among children of alcoholic individuals. Potential biopsychosocial markers of risk (e.g., low level of response to alcohol, behavioral undercontrol, and family functioning variables) have been identi.ed and indicate that both individual and environmental variables are highly relevant. Despite these advances, studies have predominantly
focused on examining outcomes among sons of alcoholic individuals, with the consequence that relatively little is known about the risk for alcoholism and other psychopathology among daughters. Effective prevention and treatment strategies are predicated upon further knowledge of these risks among daughters as well as sons. This symposium will present recent .ndings using family, prospective, and cross-sectional research to elucidate the biopsychosocial correlates and the moderators of risk for alcoholism and other psychopathology among daughters from developmental trajectories spanning the periods of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
This symposium begins with a presentation by John Kramer in which high-risk daughters’ and sons’ alcohol and drug involvement are compared with respect to their predictors, drawn from demographic, familial, and personal domains. Next, Serena King focuses on the correlates of disinhibited behavior in males and females from adoptive and biological families, with an emphasis on parental alcoholism, genetic versus environmental in.uences, and differences between genders. This talk is followed by a presentation by Kristina Jackson, who examines the predictors of alcohol use disorders among young adults from high-risk and control families, including such factors as family history, negative affect, behavioral undercontrol, and childhood stressors. Finally, Aruna
Gogineni addresses the familial predictors of adult daughters’ alcohol problems an


McGue, M., Iacono, W.G. & Krueger, R.F. (2006) The Association of Early Adolescent Problem Behavior and Adult Psychopathology: A Multivariate Behavioral Genetic Perspective. Behavior Genetics, 36, 591-602.

Research has documented a strong association between early adolescent problem behavior and adult disinhibitory psychopathology, leading some to suggest that the latter can be reduced by preventing or delaying the former. But the prevention implications of this association necessarily depend upon the causal mechanisms that produce it. The current study was designed to test implications of a model that posits that early problem behavior and disinhibitory psychopathology are associated because they are both manifestations of a common inherited liability. At their age-17 assessment, 1080 twins from the older cohort of the Minnesota Twin Family Study reported whether and the age at which they first: drank alcohol, used tobacco, used illicit drugs, had sexual intercourse, and had police contact. An Early Problem Behavior index was computed by summing the number of these experiences each participant reported having before age 15. Outcome measures of disinhibitory psychopathology were assessed by clinical interview at the age-20 follow-up and included number of symptoms of nicotine dependence, alcohol abuse and dependence, drug abuse and dependence, and adult antisocial behavior. Biometric analysis of the multivariate twin data showed that: (1) early adolescent problem behavior is weakly heritable (approximately 20%), (2) the common factor underlying disinhibitory psychopathology is strongly heritable (approximately 75%), and (3) the phenotypic correlation between early adolescent problem behavior and disinhibitory psychopathology was strong (approximately 0.60) and accounted for primarily by genetic factors common to the two domains. Findings are discussed in the context of research on the prevention and developmental nature of substance use disorders and related psychopathology.


Benning, S.D., Patrick, C.J., Blonigen, D.M., Hicks, B.M. & Iacono, W.G. (2005). Estimating Facets of Psychopathy from Normal Personality. Assessment, 12, 3-18.

In three samples consisting of community and undergraduate men and women and incarcerated men, we examined the criterion validity of two distinct factors of psychopathy embodied in the Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI) as indexed by primary trait scales from the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ). Consistent with the PPI factors themselves, MPQ-estimated PPI-I related negatively with internalizing disorder symptoms and fearfulness and positively with thrill and adventure seeking, sociability, activity, and narcissism. MPQ-estimated PPI-II was associated negatively with socialization and positively with externalizing disorder symptoms, impulsivity, disinhibition and boredom susceptibility, and trait anxiety and negative emotionality. Additionally, PPI-I was selectively related to the interpersonal facet of Factor 1 of the Psychopathy Checklist—Revised (PCL-R), whereas PPI-II was related preferentially to Factor 2 of the PCL-R.


Benning, S.D., Patrick, C.J. & Iacono, W.G. (2005). Psychopathy, Startle Blink Modulation, and Electrodermal Activity in Twin Men. Psychophysiology, 42, 753-762.

Psychopathy is a personality disorder with interpersonal–emotional and antisocial deviance facets. This study investigated these facets of psychopathy prospectively using normal-range personality traits in a community sample of young adult men who completed a picture-viewing task that included startle blink and skin conductance measures, like tasks used to study psychopathy in incarcerated men. Consistent with prior research, scores on the interpersonal– emotional facet of psychopathy (‘‘fearless dominance’’) were associated with de.cient fear-potentiated startle. Conversely, scores on the social deviance facet of psychopathy (‘‘impulsive antisociality’’) were associated with smaller overall skin conductance magnitudes. Participants high in fearless dominance also exhibited de.cient skin conductance magnitudes specifically to aversive pictures. Findings encourage further investigation of psychopathy and its etiology in community samples.


Blonigen, D.M., Hicks, B.M., Krueger, R.F., Patrick, C.J. & Iacono, W.G. (2005). Psychopathic Personality Traits: Heritability and Genetic Overlap with Internalizing and Externalizing Psychopathology. Psychological Medicine, 35, 637-648.

Background. Little research has examined genetic and environmental contributions to psychopathic personality traits. Additionally, no studies have examined etiological connections between psychopathic traits and the broad psychopathological domains of internalizing (mood and anxiety) and externalizing (antisocial behavior, substance abuse). The current study was designed to fill these gaps in the literature.
Method. Participants were 626 pairs of 17-year-old male and female twins from the community. Psychopathic traits were indexed using scores on the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ). Symptoms of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology were obtained via structured clinical interviews. Structural equation modeling was used to estimate genetic and environmental influences on psychopathic personality traits as well as the degree of genetic overlap between these traits and composites of internalizing and externalizing.
Results. Twin analyses revealed signi.cant genetic in.uence on distinct psychopathic traits (Fearless Dominance and Impulsive Antisociality). Moreover, Fearless Dominance was associated with reduced genetic risk for internalizing psychopathology, and Impulsive Antisociality was associated with increased genetic risk for externalizing psychopathology.
Conclusions. These results indicate that di.erent psychopathic traits as measured by the MPQ show distinct genetically based relations with broad dimensions of DSM psychopathology.


Krueger, R.F., Markon, K.E., Patrick, C.J. & Iacono, W.G. (2005) Externalizing Psychopathology in Adulthood: A Dimensional-Spectrum Conceptualization and Its Implications for DSM-V. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 114, 537-550.

Mental disorders involving antisocial behavior and substance use are genetically linked and vary continuously. The authors present a review and integrative conceptualization of these observations in terms of a dimensional and hierarchically organized externalizing spectrum. As a foundation for this conceptualization, the authors introduce a quantitative, model-based approach to comparing categorical and continuous conceptions of psychopathology and apply this approach in an empirical study of patterns of comorbidity among externalizing disorders as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The authors present evidence that comorbidity among externalizing disorders is best modeled by an underlying normally distributed continuum of risk for multiple disorders within the externalizing spectrum. The authors conclude by discussing implications of the externalizing spectrum conceptualization for classification of disorders in the upcoming 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.


McGue, M. & Iacono, W.G. (2005). The association of early adolescent problem behavior with adult psychopathology. American Journal of Psychiatry, 162, 1118-1124.

Objective: The authors investigated whether the association between adolescent problem behavior and adult substance use and mental health disorders was general, such that adolescent problem behavior elevates the risk for a variety of adult disorders, or outcome-specific, such that each problem behavior is associated specifically with an increased risk for disorders clinically linked to that behavior (e.g., early alcohol use with adult alcohol abuse).
Method: A population-based group of 578 male and 674 female twins reported whether they had ever engaged in, and the age of initiation of, five adolescent problem behaviors: smoking, alcohol use, illicit drug use, police trouble, and sexual intercourse. Participants also completed a structured clinical interview at both ages 17 and 20 covering substance use disorders, major depressive disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. Data were analyzed with simple bivariate methods, survival analysis, and structural equation analysis.
Results: Each problem behavior was significantly related with each clinical diagnosis. The association was especially marked for those who had engaged in multiple problem behaviors before age 15. Among those with four or more problem behaviors before age 15, the lifetime rates of substance use disorders, antisocial personality disorder, and major depressive disorder exceeded 90%, 90%, and 30% in males and 60%, 35%, and 55% in females, respectively. The association between the clinical diagnoses and adolescent problem behavior was largely accounted for by two highly correlated factors.
Conclusions: Early adolescent problem behavior identifies a subset of youth who are at an especially high and generalized risk for developing adult psychopathology.
(Am J Psychiatry 2005; 162:1118–1124)


Marmorstein, N.R., Malone, S.M., & Iacono, W.G. (2004). Major depression and conduct disorder in youth: Associations with parental psychopathology and parent child-conflict. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 377-386.

Background: This study examined conduct disorder (CD) and major depression (MDD) in adolescents in relationship to parent–child conflict and psychopathology in their parents.
Method: Participants were drawn from a population-based sample of twins and their families. Affected participants had lifetime diagnoses of CD and/or MDD; controls had no history of either disorder.
Results: The presence of CD or MDD in an adolescent was related to increased rates of maternal MDD and paternal antisocial behavior. Both CD and MDD in adolescents were directly associated with high parent–child conflict. This association appeared unrelated to whether the father had a history of antisocial behavior; however, the association between mother–child conflict and psychopathology in the child was related to the mother having a history of MDD as well.
Conclusion: The implications of these findings for the complex relationship between parental diagnoses, child diagnoses, and parent–child conflict are discussed.


Marmorstein, N.R., Malone, S.M., & Iacono, W.G. (2004). Psychiatric Disorders among Offspring of Depressed Mothers: Associations with Paternal Psychopathology. American Journal of Psychiatry, 161, 1588-1594.

Objective: The association between maternal depression and offspring dysfunction is well documented; however, little attention has been paid to psychopathology in the partners of these depressed mothers or to how paternal psychopathology might influence the relationship between maternal depression and offspring dysfunction. The purpose of this study was to explore whether major depression and/or antisocial behavior tended to occur more frequently among partners of depressed mothers (compared to partners of nondepressed mothers) and to examine how these paternal disorders related to offspring psychopathology.
Method: Participants were drawn from the Minnesota Twin Family Study, a community-based study of twins and their parents. Depressed and nondepressed mothers, their partners (the biological fathers of the twins), and their 17-year-old offspring were included. Structured interviews were used to assess participants for the presence of major depression, conduct disorder, and adult antisocial behavior.
Results: Depressed mothers tended to partner with antisocial fathers. Depression in mothers and antisocial behavior in fathers were both significantly and independently associated with offspring depression and conduct disorder. No interactions of the parental diagnoses with each other or with the gender of the offspring were found.
Conclusions: Many offspring of depressed mothers experience the additional risk of having an antisocial father. The implications of these findings for risk among the offspring of depressed mothers are discussed.
(Am J Psychiatry 2004; 161:1588–1594)


Taylor, J., Loney, B.R., Bobadilla, L., Iacono, W.G., & McGue, M. (2003). Genetic and Environmental Influences on Psychopathy Trait Dimensions in a Community Sample of Male Twins. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 31, 633-645.

Psychopathy appears to be comprised of two broad dimensions: impulsivity/antisocial behavior and interpersonal detachment/callousness. This study examined the extent to which variance in these 2 psychopathy trait dimensions was associated with common or unique genetic, shared, and nonshared environmental factors in two independent samples of reared together 16–18-year-old male twins. One sample included 142 monozygotic (MZ) and 70 dizygotic (DZ) pairs; the other sample included 128 MZ and 58 DZ pairs. Boys completed the Minnesota Temperament Inventory (MTI), a 19-item measure that contains separate subscales: Antisocial and Detachment. Variance in the Antisocial and Detachment scales was associated with additive genetic factors and neither scale was associated with shared environmental factors. As expected, the bivariate biometric analysis suggested genetic influence on the covariance of the scales. The results are consistent with theoretical models of psychopathy that posit some independence in the etiology of the two major trait dimensions of psychopathy.

 
     
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