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Shared etiology of phonological memory and vocabulary deficits in school-age children
University of Denver, CO, USA.
University of Denver, CO, USA.
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education, Teaching and Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences.
University of New England, Australia.
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2013 (English)In: Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, ISSN 1092-4388, E-ISSN 1558-9102, Vol. 56, no 4, 1249-1259 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The goal of this study was to investigate the etiologic basis for the association between deficits in phonological memory (PM) and vocabulary in school-age children.

Method: Children with deficits in PM or vocabulary were identified within the International Longitudinal Twin Study (ILTS; Samuelsson et al., 2005). The ILTS includes 1,045 twin pairs (between the ages of 5 and 8 years) from the United States, Australia, and Scandinavia. The authors applied the DeFries-Fulker ( DeFries & Fulker, 1985, 1988) regression method to determine whether problems in PM and vocabulary tend to co-occur because of overlapping genes, overlapping environmental risk factors, or both.

Results: Among children with isolated PM deficits, the authors found significant bivariate heritability of PM and vocabulary weaknesses both within and across time. However, when probands were selected for a vocabulary deficit, there was no evidence for bivariate heritability. In this case, it appears that the PM–vocabulary relationship is caused by common shared environmental experiences.

Conclusions: The findings are consistent with previous research on the heritability of specific language impairment and suggest that there are etiologic subgroups of children with low vocabulary for different reasons, 1 being more influenced by genes and another being more influenced by environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2013. Vol. 56, no 4, 1249-1259 p.
Keyword [en]
behavior genetics, phonological storage framework, longitudinal, twin, language impairment
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-96046DOI: 10.1044/1092-4388(2012/12-0185)ISI: 000328266600016OAI: diva2:640622
Available from: 2013-08-14 Created: 2013-08-14 Last updated: 2014-01-10Bibliographically approved

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Samuelsson, Stefan
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