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Associations between parental psychopathology and markers of severity in children with ADHD

Agha, Sharifah Shameem 2017. Associations between parental psychopathology and markers of severity in children with ADHD. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disabling neurodevelopmental disorder that has major adverse consequences for individuals and their families. Although ADHD is recognized to be a familial and heritable disorder, little is understood about the relationship between parental psychopathology and variation in the clinical and cognitive presentations of children with ADHD. The first aim of this thesis, which is based on a clinical sample of 570 children with ADHD, was to investigate the association between parental ADHD (based on diagnostic symptom criteria) and offspring clinical features. Results suggest parental ADHD indexes higher risk for a more severe clinical presentation of ADHD in children and higher levels of family conflict. The second aim was to investigate the influence of maternal ADHD and depression on children's clinical presentation outcome, on average two and half years after initial assessment. Maternal depression, but not maternal ADHD, was found to predict an increase in child conduct symptoms, but neither maternal depression nor maternal ADHD contributed to ADHD symptom levels, after adjusting for conduct symptom severity at baseline. Finally the third aim was to assess the role of parental psychopathology (ADHD or depression) in contributing to cognitive variation in children with ADHD. Parent ADHD but not parent depression was found to be associated with lower scores on tasks assessing working memory and set shifting abilities. Overall, these findings extend the understanding of the association between parental psychopathology and phenotype variation in children with ADHD. It indicates that children with more severe clinical presentations and greater pre-frontal cognitive impairments are more likely to have a parent with mental health difficulties. This highlights the importance of considering parent mental health during clinical assessment which can have important implications when considering families’ engagement with services, treatment and intervention strategies as well as planning the intensity of child follow-up.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Medicine
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 October 2017
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2021 15:33

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