Factor structure and aetiological architecture of the BRIEF: A twin study

Research paper by Callie W. Little, Jeanette Taylor, Allison Moltisanti, Chelsea Ennis, Sara A. Hart, Chris Schatschneider

Indexed on: 10 Mar '16Published on: 09 Sep '15Published in: Journal of Neuropsychology


Executive function is a broad construct that encompasses various processes involved in goal‐directed behaviour in non‐routine situations (Banich, 2009). The present study uses a sample of 560 5‐ to 16‐year‐old twin pairs (M = 11.14, SD = 2.53): 219 monozygotic twin pairs (114 female; 105 male) and 341 dizygotic twin pairs (136 female, 107 male; 98 opposite sex) to extend prior literature by providing information about the factor structure and the genetic and environmental architecture of the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF; Gioia et al., 2000, Child Neuropsychol., 6, 235; Gioia et al., 2000, Behavior rating inventory of executive function, Lutz, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources), a multifaceted rating scale of everyday executive functions. Phenotypic results revealed a 9‐scale, 3‐factor model best represents the BRIEF structure within the current sample. Results of the genetically sensitive analyses indicated the presence of rater bias/contrast effects for the Initiate, Working Memory, and Task‐Monitor scales. Additive genetic and non‐shared environmental influences were present for the Initiate, Plan/Organize, Organization of Materials, Shift, and Monitor and Self‐Monitor scales. Influences on Emotional Control were solely environmental. Interestingly, the aetiological architecture observed was similar to that of performance‐based measures of executive function. This observed similarity provided additional evidence for the usefulness of the BRIEF as a measure of ‘everyday’ executive function.