It is often assumed that correlations between parent and child phenotypes are indicative of causation: That parenting styles predict child outcomes because parents guide their child’s development; or that mental health problems run in families because poor parent mental health has a direct effect on the development of problems in offspring. However, given that human behavior is all under genetic influence, and given that parents and children share 50% of their DNA, many parent-child associations are likely to be—at least in part—attributable to shared genetic factors.
The aim of the CoTEDS project is to explore parent-child associations to identify which parent behaviours may have an influence on the mental health of their children, which child behaviours may have an influence on parents, and how the parenting experience affects parent mental health. By identifying the ways in which mental health problems are transmitted between generations we can effectively plan interventions to interrupt this transmission.
CoTEDS is a children-of-twins study made up of participants from the TEDS twin study who have had children of their own. It is the first children-of-twins study in the world to include data on the parent and child generations from birth.
You can find out more information about the study, including how to register if you are a TEDS twin with a child, here.