Scaini, S., Medda, E., Battaglia, M., De Giuli, G., Stazi, M. A., D’Ippolito, C., & Fagnani, C. (2023) A Twin Study of the Relationships between Cognitive Disengagement Syndrome and Anxiety Phenotypes in Childhood and Adolescence. 2023 – Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology 51, 949–960 – February 2023


Data on the etiological factors underlying the co-occurrence of Cognitive Disengagement Syndrome (CDS) with anxiety symptoms are very limited. The present study investigated the nature of latent shared etiological elements in 400 Italian twin pairs aged 8–18, explaining the covariation between CDS and anxiety symptoms. Preliminary analysis demonstrated significant correlations between Child Behaviour Checklist/6–18 Sluggish Cognitive Tempo Scale and two (Somatic Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety) out of five Screen for Child Anxiety Related Disorders anxiety subscales. Results from causal analysis seem to exclude the hypothesis that co-occurrence between CDS and Anxiety Symptoms could be due to a direct phenotypic effect of one trait upon the other. Model fitting-analysis indicated that the aforementioned associations were partially explained by shared genetic and environmental factors influencing a common liability factor. A latent variable capturing the covariation between CDS and anxiety problems can be considered as a unifying (patho)physiological mechanism/system common to these constructs. Our results support the adoption of a broader view of the relationships between CDS and anxiety phenotypes in childhood and adolescence for both clinicians and educators.