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Autistic traits in children with ADHD index clinical and cognitive problems

Cooper, Miriam ORCID:, Martin, Joanna ORCID:, Langley, Kate ORCID:, Hamshere, Marian L. ORCID: and Thapar, Anita ORCID: 2014. Autistic traits in children with ADHD index clinical and cognitive problems. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 23 (1) , pp. 23-24. 10.1007/s00787-013-0398-6

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Traits of autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) occur frequently in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but the significance of their presence in terms of phenotype and underlying neurobiology is not properly understood. This analysis aimed to determine whether higher levels of autistic traits, as measured by the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ), index a more severe presentation in a large, rigorously phenotyped sample of children with ADHD (N = 711). Regression analyses were used to examine association of SCQ scores with core ADHD features, clinical comorbidities and cognitive and developmental features, with adjustment for putative confounders. For outcomes showing association with total SCQ score, secondary analyses determined levels of differential association of the three ASD sub-domains. Results suggest that increasing ASD symptomatology within ADHD is associated with a more severe phenotype in terms of oppositional, conduct and anxiety symptoms, lower full-scale IQ, working memory deficits and general motor problems. These associations persisted after accounting for ADHD severity, suggesting that autistic symptomatology independently indexes the severity of comorbid impairments in the context of ADHD. Sub-domain scores did not show unique contributions to most outcomes, except that social deficits were independently associated with oppositional symptoms and repetitive behaviours independently predicted hyperactive-impulsive symptoms and motor problems. It would be worthwhile for clinicians to consider levels of socio-communicative and repetitive traits in those with ADHD who do not meet diagnostic criteria for ASD, as they index higher levels of phenotypic complexity, which may have implications for efficacy of interventions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 1018-8827
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 January 2018
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2024 17:36

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