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Revisiting the Children-of-Twins Design: Improving Existing Models for the Exploration of Intergenerational Associations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tom A. McAdams, Laurie J. Hannigan, Espen Moen Eilertsen, Line C. Gjerde, Eivind Ystrom, Fruhling Vesta Rijsdijk

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397–412
JournalBehavior Genetics
Issue number5
Early online date30 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018


King's Authors


Datasets comprising twins and their children can be a useful tool for understanding the nature of intergenerational associations between parent and offspring phenotypes. In the present article we explore structural equation models previously used to analyse Children-of-Twins data, highlighting some limitations and considerations. We then present new variants of these models, showing that extending the models to include multiple offspring per parent addresses several of the limitations discussed. Accompanying the updated models, we provide power calculations and demonstrate with application to simulated data. We then apply to intergenerational analyses of height and weight, using a sub-study of the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort (MoBa); the Intergenerational Transmission of Risk (IToR) project, wherein all kinships in the MoBa data have been identified (a children-of-twins-and-siblings study). Finally, we consider how to interpret the findings of these models and discuss future directions.


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