Psychopathology and symptom remission at adolescence among children with attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder

Susan Shur-Fen Gau, Yu-Ju Lin, Andrew Tai-Ann Cheng, Yen-Nan Chiu, Wen-Che Tsai, Wei-Tsuen Soong
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 2010, 44 (4): 323-32

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to examine changes of attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and psychiatric comorbidities at adolescence, and mother-child agreement on reports of ADHD symptoms among children with ADHD as compared to unaffected controls.

METHODS: The participants included 93 patients (male, 82.8%) aged 11-16, who were clinically diagnosed with ADHD at the mean age of 7.3 +/- 2.8 years, and 93 age-, sex-, and parental education-matched school controls. The participants and their mothers were first interviewed separately for baseline psychopathology at childhood, followed by current psychopathology using the Chinese Kiddie Epidemiologic version of the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia.

RESULTS: At adolescence, 46 patients (49.5%) met full DSM-IV ADHD criteria, 31 (33.3%) had subthreshold ADHD, and 16 (17.2%) had recovered from ADHD. We found a significant progressive decline in the three ADHD core symptoms for the ADHD group: hyperactivity had the greatest effect size, followed by inattention, and then impulsivity. Children with ADHD tended to report less severe ADHD symptoms at childhood and adolescence than their mothers. They were more likely than the controls to have oppositional defiant disorder (odds ratio (OR)=18.0; 95% confidence interval (CI)=8.3-38.9), conduct disorder (OR=23.1, 95%CI =5.3-100.2), mood disorders (OR=3.8, 95%CI = 1.5-9.4), bipolar disorders (Fisher's exact p < 0.001), and sleep disorders (OR=3.1, 95%CI = 1.6-6.0) at adolescence.

CONCLUSIONS: The present findings are similar to those of Western studies, regarding the patterns of comorbidity, stability of core symptoms, and mother-child differences on symptom reports.

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